Approximately 1 in 3 cases of COVID-19 reported daily in the world is now found in India, where the rate of new infections is growing faster than in any other nation.
A second wave of COVID-19 infections in India has completely overwhelmed the country’s medical infrastructure as families make desperate requests for oxygen and other life-saving supplies on social media.
In the capital city of New Delhi, morgues are used massive cremations dispose of the bodies of the victims of COVID. In some hospitals, patients wait outside in ambulances due to the lack of ventilators inside.
Volunteers have also stepped up to help with supply issues, including India Cares, a community of more than 3,000 people who use social media to get everything from blood donors to oxygen and medicine.
Mohd Saqib, a 23-year-old student who recently became involved in the organization, told BuzzFeed News that appeals for help are increasing every day.
“We are losing daily from our Indian family,” Saqib said. “When a person [makes a] ask for it and, after a while, we know that the same person is no more, this moment is the worst ”.
In a emergency meeting chaired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, officials agreed to divert oxygen destined for industrial uses to meet immediate medical needs and use the country’s transportation networks to get supplies to the states that need it most quickly.
Modi also called on states to take stronger action on the potential hoarding of supplies.
India escaped the worst of COVID-19 during the first year of the pandemic. Although the nation ranks fourth in the world for its own official world death toll, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico, the mortality rate was low relative to its population of about 1.4 billion. And when India entered 2021, it seemed to have the disease under control, as cases and deaths had fallen from the maximum in September.
But since March, the nation has seen an explosion of infections, which is suspected to be caused by a new variant of the coronavirus called B.1.617. The National Institute of Virology of India reported that this variant has been adopted an advantage in transmissions, appearing in approximately 61% of the cases tested in a province last week. It is sometimes called the “double mutant” variant because it contains two mutations associated with an increase in infection; its role in the outbreak of India it is not yet clear due to limited medical tests to find variants.
Now, about 1 in three cases of COVID-19 registered every day worldwide is in India, and the rate of new infections is growing faster than in any other nation. There are also nearly 2,000 COVID-related deaths each day, about one-sixth of the world’s total. But one Financial Times analysis based on cremation records, suggests that many people dying of COVID-19 in India are not counted in official statistics.
Giridhar R. Babu, epidemiologist at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), warned that “it will not be the last wave nor the last pandemic,” with his healthcare system on the verge of collapse. .
In an interview with local average, Babu said the current situation in India should be a global concern.
“If disease control is neglected in some parts of the world, all other parts run the risk of importing infections,” Babu said. “We need to strictly and meticulously review the situation of COVID in the country while expanding vaccine coverage.
“There should be strong leadership and public health resources to build resident systems, including strengthening epidemiological and genomic surveillance of COVID-19 to detect outbreaks. It is unrealistic to expect tangible gains without a strong focus on strengthening the health system, especially by not strengthening the recruitment of human resources and capacity building “.
The situation in India has been partly blamed by the government, with critics, including the president of the PHFI, accusing The Modi administration prematurely declared a victory against the virus when efforts should have been made to strengthen the country’s medical infrastructure.
Instead, they announced the electoral authorities of India key choices in five states, the country’s cricket board gave the green light to an international match with a stadium full of spectators and the Hindu festival of Kumbh mela brought millions to Haridwar for the holy occasion.
The escalating COVID-19 crisis in India is also bad news for the global effort to vaccinate people against coronavirus. The Serum Institute of India in Pune is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world and was commissioned making an initial 200 million doses of a version of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine for COVAX, a collaboration between the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which aims to bring affordable vaccines to developing countries around the world .
But the introduction of vaccines in India has had problems, with only 1.4% of the population currently fully vaccinated against COVID-19. At the end of March, India stopped vaccine exports to divert the supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine to its own vaccination unit.
The Serum Institute of India has done the same signed an agreement produce about a billion doses of a coronavirus vaccine developed by the American company Novavax once it obtains approval. Therefore, additional pressure to use the country’s vaccine manufacturing capacity to boost its own hesitant program will have relevant effects worldwide. India he has also argued that U.S. export controls of raw materials used to make vaccines would hamper their ability to meet global demand.
The United States is also pressured to give about 20 million doses of unused AstraZeneca vaccines that have not yet been authorized for use by the FDA. AstraZeneca said it would have it soon 30 million doses in the US ready, though the US agreed to send 4 million doses in Canada and Mexico in March. Asked about donating these AstraZeneca stocks, Jeff Zients, response coordinator at the COVID-19 White House, said Friday that the United States will “explore options” for sending excess vaccines abroad. as our confidence in our own supply increases ”. He pointed to that of President Joe Biden $ 4 billion commitment to COVAX in February as an indication of the country’s support for global vaccination.
Meanwhile, the CDC consults health officials in India and provides technical assistance, said Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“It’s a terrible situation that we try to help in any way we can,” he said. “Viouslybviament, they need to vaccinate their people.”