By: Daniel Zagoren — Op-Ed Editor
In recent days, India’s healthcare infrastructure has been rapidly failing, as the country has more than 400,000 new cases per day and is nearing 4,000 daily deaths.
A country that considered itself to be in the “final stages” of the pandemic no more than a few weeks ago is now setting global records for daily case numbers. Hospitals are overflowing and it is nearly impossible, for the rich and the poor, to receive proper medical treatment. To accompany the thousands of deaths each day, parking lots have turned into mass crematoriums, their fires lighting up the night sky.
Junior Noor Haq has a cousin who is currently living in India and experiencing the situation first hand. “It’s a mess, no lockdown, no precautions, the rate of infected people is rising, and they are running out of space in the hospitals,” she said.
India is the world’s largest coronavirus vaccine producer and has been setting new records with its daily death toll and case numbers. Experts believe that this data is vastly inaccurate, and numbers are actually 2 to 5 times higher than what is being recorded.
Haq’s cousin is critical of the rules in place to combat the virus, saying they are not doing much to slow the spread. “There’s only a curfew from 9 P.M to 4 A.M., but it’s not very effective. Especially in Hyderabad, people are not being cautious and are still going out. They are not being very serious about the whole thing,” she said.
The main cause behind the influx in deaths is that seriously ill people are unable to obtain hospital beds or oxygen to help them. People have been dying outside of hospitals waiting for beds to open and loved ones can’t find beds anywhere for their family members.
Lokesh is a resident in India who recently had a family member die from the Coronavirus due to a lack of oxygen in hospitals. “We came twice [to the hospital] but [doctors] said home isolation is enough and sent us back. He was fine, recovered 75 percent. If oxygen was available, he would’ve survived. But without oxygen last night, he died,” Lokesh said.
Those in India who are fortunate enough to afford it have resorted to buying oxygen tanks in stores or off the black market to keep their ill family members alive. In addition, the vaccine campaign in India hasn’t been sufficient as only ten percent of the population has received one shot and two percent has received both since the vaccine campaign started in January.
Recently, countries around the world have been sharing medical supplies and oxygen to aid India in its fight against the virus. The United States is sending over 100 million dollars in supplies to India, including 15 million N95 masks, 1,000 oxygen cylinders, and one million rapid tests. Russia and other countries in Europe are also contributing oxygen and a multitude of vaccine doses.
The Indian government has been criticized for how they handled the virus in India. India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has allowed religious festivals, attended by millions, and political events to continue, which many believe has led to the huge spike in cases. Currently, Modi and his political party are rejecting a national lockdown even though daily cases and deaths only continue to rise.
Back in February, Modi was hailed by the Bharatiya Janata political party (BJP) for his handling of the Coronavirus and his “leadership for introducing India to the world as a proud and victorious nation in the fight against COVID-19.”
The political group, who is led by Modi, adds that “it can be said with pride, that India defeated COVID-19 under the able, sensitive, committed, and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
As western news publications continue to criticize the actions taken by the Indian government to combat the virus, the BJP has begun to censor news.
“The situation is horrible and I can’t imagine what it is like to be there right now. I hope people start to realize the dangers of this virus and try to stay safe in India,” Haq said.
image from indiatvnews.com