India has reported a record daily increase in coronavirus cases from 414,188, while deaths from COVID-19 increased by 3,915, according to health ministry data.
India’s total coronavirus infections now stand at 21.49 million, while its fatalities have reached 234,083, the ministry said on Friday.
The South Asian nation battling a fierce second wave of coronavirus has added 1.57 million cases and just over 15,100 deaths this week alone.
Experts believe that both the number of daily cases and deaths have been underestimated.
K Vijayraghvan, the government’s chief scientific adviser, described the case explosion “as a very critical time for the country” and warned of an “inevitable” third wave.
Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to U.S. President Joe Biden, suggested that a complete closure could be needed in India for two to four weeks to help alleviate the rise in infections.
“As soon as cases start to go down, more people can be vaccinated and the path of the pandemic outbreak can be brought forward,” Fauci said in an interview on Indian television’s CNN News18 news channel.
Fauci suggested that India should mobilize its military to erect field hospitals that could ease the pressure on its bad hospitals.
Fauci also said there appear to be at least two types of virus variants circulating in India. He said B117, which is the UK variant, tends to be concentrated in New Delhi and variant 617 is concentrated in the most affected western state of Maharashtra.
“Both have a growing ability to transmit better and more efficiently than the original Wuhan strain a year ago,” Fauci said.
Meanwhile, hospital oxygen demand has multiplied by seven since last month, a government official said, as India struggles to install large oxygen plants and transport oxygen to health centers.
Acting by order of the Supreme Court, the Indian government on Thursday agreed to supply more medical oxygen to hospitals in the capital of New Delhi, after a two-week chronic shortage worsened the country’s coronavirus crisis.
The government has raised the supply of oxygen to 730 tonnes, from 490 tonnes a day in New Delhi, according to Supreme Court orders.
The court intervened after 12 COVID-19 patients, including a doctor, died last week at Batra Hospital in New Delhi when they ran out of medical oxygen for 80 minutes.
On Wednesday night, 11 other patients with COVID-19 died when pressure on an oxygen supply line stopped working at a government medical hospital in Chengalpattu, southern India, The newspaper reported. Times of India, speculating that a faulty valve could have caused the incident.
Hospital authorities said they had repaired the oxygen line last week, but demands on the supply line and oxygen consumption had doubled since then, according to the newspaper.
Government officials also denied reports that they have been slow in distributing life-saving medical supplies from abroad.
Oxygen-carrying ships are heading to India from Bahrain and Kuwait in the Persian Gulf, officials said.
Most hospitals in India do not have their own plants to generate oxygen for patients. As a result, hospitals typically rely on liquid oxygen, which can be stored in cylinders and transported in tanker trucks.
Dr. Himal Dev, head of the critical care unit at Apollo Hospital in the southern city of Bengaluru, said patients with COVID-19 in intensive care units need at least 10-15 liters of oxygen per minute due to reduced lung function.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said India has enough oxygen but faces capacity constraints to move it where it is needed. Most of the oxygen is produced in the eastern parts of India, but the demand for supplies has increased in the northern and western parts.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday reviewed the coronavirus situation with senior officials and told them to increase the country’s vaccination campaign.
The country, with about 1.4 billion people, has so far administered 162 million doses, but is facing a shortage of vaccines.
The United States, Britain, Germany and several other nations are rushing for medicine, rapid testing of viruses and oxygen and material the country needs to increase domestic vaccine production to ease pressure on the country’s fragile health infrastructure.
Vaccine production in India is expected to gain momentum as the United States will support a waiver of intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines.
The components of U.S. vaccines that have arrived in India will allow the manufacture of 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, said Daniel B Smith, a senior diplomat at the U.S. embassy in New Delhi.
Last month, Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, called on President Joe Biden to lift the embargo on U.S. raw material exports. say it affected your company’s COVID production. 19 shots.
Meanwhile, the government described as “totally misleading” reports to the Indian media that health authorities took seven days to develop a procedure to distribute urgent medical supplies that began arriving from other countries on April 25th.
The government said in a statement that a mechanism has been established to allocate supplies received by India for effective distribution. The Indian Red Cross Society is involved in the distribution of supplies from abroad, according to the statement.