The crowded nation is in the embrace of a terrifying epidemic that quickly spread to major cities and flooded the country’s medical infrastructure, depleting supplies like oxygen and leaving little bed space for critical patients.
The number of cases on Thursday exceeds the previous world record set by the United States earlier this year, when more than 313,000 infections were recorded on January 8, according to data collected by The Washington Post. India now has nearly 16 million confirmed cases, others are the United States alone, and the death toll is more than 184,000. Its total population is more than 1.3 billion.
The startling tsunami of new cases is due to more contagious variants of the virus, a slowed vaccination campaign and recent behavioral changes that have left many in public health restrictions in recent months.
“Once first-wave cases began to decline and reach their lowest level, there was a prevailing feeling in the general public that the worst was over and out of danger,” Rio M. John, a health economist at Rajagiri College of Social Sciences in Kerala, said. Reuters.
“It was partly fueled by the irresponsible statements of several political leaders, many from the ruling government itself, leading people to inadvertently believe that India had defeated covid-19,” John said.
The devastating wave has led to gloomy and chaotic scenes of bodies piling up in crematoria as patients fight for beds in overcrowded coronavirus wards while there is no oxygen supply.
At least 22 patients with covid-19 on Wednesday died at the hospital in the western part of the country after an oxygen tank leaked, disrupting supply.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan it was posted on Twitter on Thursday that “oxygen demand and supply are monitored non-stop.”
On Wednesday, the New Delhi High Court ordered the government to divert oxygen from industrial to hospitals to alleviate the crisis, reported by the Associated Press.
“You can’t have people die because there is no oxygen. Pray, borrow or steal, it is a national necessity, “the AP quoted the judges in response to a petition by a New Delhi hospital seeking his intervention.