The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in India has devastated lives and completely overwhelmed hospitals and medical resources.
A new global record: India reported 332,730 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the highest number of daily cases globally for the second day in a row. This brings India’s total to more than 16 million cases, according to a CNN tally of figures from the Indian Ministry of Health. The country has added over 1 million cases in four days.
India also reported its highest single-day death toll since the pandemic began, with 2,263 deaths Friday.
Shortage of oxygen: At least six private hospitals in the Indian capital New Delhi ran out of oxygen Thursday, according to the city’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia. He added that supplies had not reached New Delhi, even after the central government allocated 480 metric tonnes of oxygen for the capital.
Health care infrastructure strained: As of Friday morning, there were only 25 ICU beds available in the capital, a Delhi government dashboard showed. The Delhi High Court also revoked a government order on Thursday that required Covid-19 testing labs to provide results in less than 36 hours. The court noted that labs are “refusing and turning away people” due to this and stated that “there is no reason to now require generation of reports positively within 36 hours, particularly when the pandemic is four times larger than what it was last year.”
A black market for medicines has emerged: With Covid-19 cases soaring in India, demand has spiked for Remdesivir. But as hospitals face shortages, black market traders are charging up to 10 times the recommended retail price for for the antiviral drug, despite no clarity on its effectiveness in treating the virus.
Vaccinations: India has administered 135 millions doses of the Covid-19 vaccine as of Thursday, according to Indian health minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan. Currently, India is only vaccinating its health care workers, front line workers and people aged 45 and above. Starting May 1, it will open up vaccination to everyone 18 and older, which will be its biggest cohort. It is indicated that either this age group will have to get vaccines from state government or buy them from private providers.