India’s health system is collapsing as record increases in COVID-19 cases push hospital beds and deplete oxygen supplies.
Families can only beg their sick relatives, some of whom have not treated for hours.
A mass funeral is being organize at crematoriums.
On Friday, India announced 332,730 new cases of the coronavirus, setting a world record for the second day in a row. The death toll in the past 24 hours was 2,263.
Oxygen crisis in India
Dr. Atul Gogia, consultant at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, told the BBC there had been an “increase” in patients and there were no vacancies in the emergency room.
“We don’t have those many oxygen points,” he says. Whatever the point of oxygen, it is full. Patients come with their own oxygen cylinders, or they do not have oxygen. “We want to help them, but there are not enough beds, there are not enough oxygen points, even if there is oxygen available for them.”
“All our phone lines are blocked. People keep calling the helpline, foreigners rushed: ambulances parked and patients wanted to get off the boat, but the problem was there was no room.
He added; “We are trying to mobilize patients as soon as possible and get out of the hospital to increase the change, but at the moment it is difficult.
Every morning, in the last few days, I wake up with desperate messages of grief on my phone.
People are looking for beds, life-saving drugs, oxygen and plasma for infected and sick friends and family. Usually, after a period of silence, the same people declare themselves dead. My Twitter agenda Covid from India – 19 war rooms, because India seems to have largely disappeared.
All needs needed to save lives are scarce or available on the black market. So there’s fear of viruses on your doorstep. In the past week, three buildings in the Gate community where I live have become “no-go zones”, and entire skyscrapers have closed due to over-infection. Day and night are full of helplessness, anxiety and fear. The bad news is relentless.
India’s Supreme Court called it a “state of emergency.” This is beyond emergency reach. As one of India’s leading virologists said, this is a complete collapse of the system. In hot spots like Delhi and Mumbai, life itself is a privilege.
Why are cases so high in India?
The second wave of cases in India has driven by a number of factors. Maintenance protocols are lax and coverage rules apply every now and then.
Millions of people attended the Kumbh Mullah Hindu Festival, which culminated in widespread flooding in Ganges 10 days ago. New strains have emerged, including a strain of “double mutation.”
Bollywood composer Shravan tested positive shortly after returning from the town where Kombh held and died shortly thereafter, his family confirmed.
Emergency rooms and wards have already been crowded, said Dr. Saswati Sinha, an intensive care specialist in the eastern city of Kolkata.
“We received direct calls from patients, acquaintances, neighbors: they begged us to take care of some of their closest relatives.”But unfortunately that’s the case with us, and while we’re doing everything we can, we still have a lot of patients that we can’t accommodate.”
“After 20 years in the intensive care unit, I’ve never seen anything like this before,” he says.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with senior ministers from the most afflicted states and oxygen producers on Friday.
He called on governments to work together to stop hoarding and the black market, saying the government is also considering changing industrial oxygen to alleviate the crisis.