VideoFor the fourth consecutive day, India set a world record with nearly 350,000 new coronavirus infections and nearly 2,800 deaths within 24 hours. There is a great shortage of oxygen needed to ventilate patients. It leads to sexy photos of gasping people dying from lack of oxygen on their way to hospitals. “The virus is engulfing our townspeople like a beast.”
Tony Van Der Mai
People walk around with sick family members in former hospitals. They call and post desperate pleas on social media. Many patients are rejected. There are no beds and there is a huge shortage of oxygen for the respirators.
The situation in front of the hospitals is dire. There are patients lying in the street or on stretchers. They beg for oxygen masks to be included. For many, help comes too late. They die, they are waiting in line. In hospitals, patients also die because of their depletion of oxygen.
“Every day is the same situation,” says a doctor on Indian TV. “We have oxygen for two hours and we only get guarantees from the authorities.”
Ashwin Mittal was lucky that after hours of pity, his ailing grandmother, who was panting to catch her breath, was able to go to the emergency department. But an acquaintance told the BBC that she had to leave today because the oxygen had run out. “The family returns to square one. They accept its fate. If it survives, it will be a miracle, not a cure.”
Healthcare is in danger of collapsing under this deadly new Corona wave. Hospitals are struggling to stock up on equipment and medicines that are being sold at high prices. Yesterday, the government declared that “no one in the country is without oxygen”. But the truth is, the oxygen supply is rapidly diminishing.
The government required companies to increase production of oxygen and other life-saving drugs. Military aircraft and trains have been deployed to get much-needed oxygen supplies from other parts of the country to Delhi. Aid is also coming from abroad, including from the United States and neighboring Pakistan.
Some Sikh temples provide free oxygen to patients who have no place in the hospital, in cars, and on the street.
“We were confident and courageous after successfully dealing with the first wave, but this storm shook the nation,” Prime Minister Modi said in a radio address today.
The new wave represents a major defeat for his government, which in January proudly declared its victory over the Coronavirus and took pride in being the “pharmacy of the world” as a producer of vaccines. Modi is accused of complacency, in part because he has allowed mass religious and political gatherings.
The current crisis is painfully apparent in the cemeteries and crematoriums. Delhi cemeteries are few in space. Funeral crematoria lit up the night skies in other hard-hit cities.
In central Bhopal, some crematoriums have increased their capacity by dozens of funeral homes. However, according to officials, people still had to wait hours before the victims were cremated.
At the Bhadada Vishram Ghat incinerator in the city, workers said they burned more than 110 bodies on Saturday, while the city government claimed that only ten people were killed. “The virus is swallowing the people of our city like a beast,” said the official, Mamtish Sharma.
The massive influx of corpses forced the crematorium to skip individual ceremonies with elaborate rituals. “We burn the bodies as soon as they arrive,” Sharma says. “It is as if we are in the midst of a war.”
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