In the last 24 hours, the country has had more than triple the number of coronavirus cases than its neighbor China in the entire pandemic.
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- India “We are running out of oxygen”
In the last three days, India has reported more than a million new cases of Covid-19. Previously, it had taken 65 days for the second most populous country in the world to reach the million mark. In the last 24 hours, India has had more than three times as many coronavirus cases as its neighbor China throughout the pandemic. Since April 15, he has been reporting more than 200,000 infections every day. For the fourth consecutive day, India has set a world record for new infections …
Gone are those days in January when in India they celebrated that the daily figure was below 15,000 cases and the Massive Hindu festivals without any restrictionssuch as the Kumbh Mela in the city of Haridwar, which was attended by 25 million people. Further still are the praise for the prime minister’s management Narendra Modi, which imposed a long and severe lockdown in March 2020 to curb the spread of the coronavirus, although it sank millions of street workers who live off what they sell on the streets.
“India let its guard down. Large religious gatherings, the reopening of most public places and packed election rallies are to blame for the upturn. Seized a false sense of normalcy and we do not take the measures to stop the second wave that is sweeping like a tsunami “, explains the doctor A Fathahudeen, a pulmonologist working in the control of the pandemic in the state of Kerala.
“The situation was manageable until a few weeks ago. The second wave of infections has come like a storm,” the prime minister said Wednesday in a speech in which urged citizens to stay home and not panic. Apparently in early February India seemed to have the virus under control. Modi, with not even 1% of the vaccinated population, He declared that the country was the “pharmacy of the world” and pointed out that pre-pandemic life could resume.
Today in India there is talk of a humanitarian catastrophe. The scenario is the worst possible that experts fear will occur within the pandemic: a country with more than 1.3 billion people that he is incapable of having free beds or oxygen tanks in his hospitals. There are cities where corpses are already piling up outside hospital morgues because they don’t fit inside. Mass cremations are taking place in some streets of New Delhi. Even in other cities they are running out of wood to burn the bodies. International aid is urgently needed. China, the United States and the United Kingdom have spoken these days offering both supplies and personnel to help in hospitals.
Also, day after day, India breaks its own records. This Sunday 349,691 new cases and 2,767 deaths have been reported. Since the beginning of the pandemic, no other country had reached daily figures. Right now, the Asian nation accounts for 40% of the new coronavirus infections reported worldwide. And we probably only know a part of their real figures. Different organizations, such as the West Bengal Health Service Physicians Association, warn that the figures on Covid infections that the government is publishing are actually an underestimate.
“A large population suspected of being positive certainly stays away from testing. I think the actual number of people dying from Covid is two to three times higher of what the government reports. And the number of infections could be up to five times higher than that reported by the authorities, “says the doctor on CNN. Manas Gumta, Secretary General of the West Bengal Association.
In total, the country has reported 117 million infections and 192,000 deaths. The situation is out of control and the health system on the verge of collapse. There are infected people who are dying every day at the doors of hospitals because they do not receive the oxygen support they need. Medicines are also in short supply. Especially in the capital, New Delhi, closed since last Monday. Many citizens are traveling hundreds of kilometers a day to transfer their sick relatives to hospitals in other less collapsed cities.
As explained this weekend by the scientific magazine NatureWhat happens in India could be due to a cluster of factors ranging from low vaccination rates and massive social events, to the new variant of coronavirus. Because to this new wave we must add a strange variant called “double mutant”, which many blame for the increase in mortality rates. According to the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), the danger is that vaccines are designed to create antibodies that specifically target the spike protein of the virus.
The concern about this variant is that if a mutation changes the shape of the spike protein, the antibodies may not be able to effectively neutralize the virus. In Italy, for example, this Sunday they have banned those who were in India from entering in the last 14 days. New Zealand, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the United States have already banned direct flights to and from the Asian country.
The internal solution to stop the second wave is through a vaccination festival, as Prime Minister Modi called it, to immunize anyone over the age of 18 as of May 1. There are no age restrictions anymore. The purpose is to vaccinate 900 million eligible people as soon as possible. In the almost three months that have passed since the vaccination campaign began, they have already put more than 100 million doses.
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