In India, no one is safe. This outbreak has penetrated the population so intensely that it is difficult to stop the virus, which has created new, more dangerous mutations and is spreading like wildfire through entire families. For the third day in a row, India set a new record for coronavirus deaths.
More than one million people have been infected since Wednesday, in what is being called the world’s worst epidemic. The worst-affected areas, such as New Delhi, Mumbai, and Maharashtra, have run out of hospital beds and oxygen, the life-saving care that Covid hospitals need. Patients are suffocating to death as a result of the shortage – 21 in one hospital only, according to reports. The government has sent military planes and trains to bring oxygen to the capital, and the High Court has ruled that anyone who impedes supplies will face the death penalty.
The first wave, which hit six months ago, was relatively minor. Younger generations were largely unaffected. The under-40s are now sick as well. Infected two-month-old babies are increasing. Pregnant women are dying in large numbers. Hospitals are no longer accepting new patients. It takes a whole day for ambulances to reach certain victims.
In some of New Delhi’s largest state-run hospitals, I’ve visited the Covid wards. Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, for example, converted its parking lot into an intensive care unit. In the corridors, patients are on stretchers. Each bed can hold up to three or four patients, who all share a common oxygen cylinder.
The amount of oxygen in the blood of even the most critically ill, those on ventilators, is capped at 94 percent. Ninety-five percent is considered normal. And if they are accepted, there is no assurance that they will be handled.
Families are being forced to carry their own food, medications, and oxygen into the facility. On the streets, relatives are fighting for whatever supplies they can get. The virus is known as India’s great leveller. There is no way to buy a bed or an oxygen cylinder for a sick loved one.
India had one of the strictest curfews in the country, and the health minister announced in March that the pandemic was nearing its ‘endgame.’ Vaccines meant for Indians were shipped out of the country. Only about a quarter of the population is completely vaccinated today.
The Delhi government has extended the city’s lockdown until May 3. “In Delhi, we had put a six-day curfew. The lockdown will be extended until 5 a.m. on Monday “Arvind Kejriwal, Arvind Kejriwal, Arvind Kejriwal, Arvind Ke On Saturday, the number of people killed by Covid-19 in the national capital reached 357, the highest number to date. Covid cases were registered in 24,103 cases in Delhi, bringing the total to over ten lakh. In the last 24 hours, 74,702 tests were performed in the district, with only 42,346 of them using RT-PCR, which is considered poor. The percentage of people who were positive was 32.27 percent. Kejriwal has sent an SOS to his counterparts in other states, appealing for their assistance in the the city’s oxygen supply.