At 5 a.m. on Saturday, Aparna Bansal’s cellphone rang. “Can you come now?” said a man from the New Delhi hospital where her 76-year-old father is being treated for Covid-19. The instructions were clear, she said: Bring oxygen or take your father away.
Her husband lines up at 4 a.m. every morning at an oxygen-supply store in east Delhi to buy two cylinders of oxygen to take to separate hospitals treating her mother and father. Neither facility has enough supply to treat the waves of patients coming through every hour.
India is fighting the highest COVID caseload of any country so far. Hospital beds and especially oxygen are running critically short, and deaths are increasingly rapidly. The medical system has nearly collapsed:
India has been reporting more than 2,000 deaths a day for five straight days. The real toll is likely much higher. It is expected to grow in the coming weeks.
A general relaxation of caution earlier this year, along with several massive superspreader events, seeded the current crisis:
Life returned to normal. Weddings and parties resumed. Masks slipped, as did social-distancing rules. A new season of state-level elections ushered in big political rallies and street parades. A massive religious festival known as the Kumbh Mela was allowed to take place, bringing millions of Hindu pilgrims to the banks of the river Ganges and sending a message that there was no reason to worry about Covid-19.
By mid-March, cases started climbing again—then accelerated with breathtaking speed, becoming a vertical line rather than an upward sloping curve.
Much more here.
Many had put their faith in an herbal remedy called Coronil, which was even touted by Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. However, there is little evidence behind the treatment.
Reports from people inside India right now are dire:
Dig into these posts for more on COVID:
- This Tiny Country Beat COVID
- The Miracle Particles Behind COVID Vaccines
- Has Merck Found the Cure for COVID?
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