The COVID-19 Crisis In India
Written by Devyanee Dalmia and Edited by Diya Patel
*This information was updated as of May 7th, 2021.
The second wave of Covid-19 in India is having a devastating impact on the country. Hospitals are unbearably full, oxygen supplies are running very low, and hundreds of people are dying just waiting in lines to see doctors. I have seen 4 of my own family members die because of Covid-19 within the span of a month. During the past few weeks, Indian social media has been inundated with SOS messages: hospitals tweeting regarding dwindling chemical elements and physicians looking impotently as patients die preventable deaths. Overwhelmed crematoria are working round-the-clock to stay up with the pace of bodies; furnaces have fused down from overuse and extra ceremonial occasion platforms are being designed outside. Such are the sorrowful messages and haunting pictures that highlight the formidable second wave of the coronavirus pandemic raging through the country. Hospitals are running out of vital oxygen supplies and medicines like Remdesvir and Tocilizumab, which are necessary to care for and save patients hospitalized with severe cases of Covid-19.
India recorded a new high of 412, 262 fresh coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours and 3,980 deaths; these numbers take the country's tally to 230,168 deaths as of May 7th, 2021, according to the Union Health Ministry (Coronavirus in India). India currently accounts for 1 in 4 coronavirus deaths in the world (India Accounts).
India, currently home to the world's worst coronavirus outbreak, has reported over 17.6 million cases since the pandemic began last year. However, experts fear this number might be up to thirty times higher -- that means more than half a billion cases. Medical examiners and scientists in India have long warned that Covid-19 infections and connected deaths are considerably underreported for many reasons, including poor infrastructure, human error, and low testing levels (Yeung).
This may be India approaching its end. I can say because I have seen India’s condition worsen firsthand. We must understand the gravity of the situation and try to stay at home for the most part. The rapid rise in case numbers is largely due to a Hindu festival “Ram Navami,” or the birthday of the Indian mythological god Ram, celebrated by thousands of people in Ayodhya. Additionally, lax safety protocols and huge election rallies held in West Bengal have also contributed to rising coronavirus infections. Living in Kolkata myself, I have seen hundreds of people huddle together to listen to the speeches of the political leaders. Additionally, there is a new variant of coronavirus. The latest study shows that the UK variant (B1.1.7 lineage of SARS CoV-2) is declining in India, while the Indian variant (B.1.617) is rising and is largely responsible for the recent surge in cases in many states (Vishnoi). The bulk of the cases are primarily originating from cities like Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, and Delhi. Many cities are imposing lockdowns and other public health measures like the usage of the double mask technique to mitigate the spread of the virus.
People are in desperate need of resources. We can do our part by donating to fundraisers like the Hemkunt Fund and other mutual aid funds to relieve the stress of the pandemic from the people. Donating to Our Future of Change or Her Future Coalition will also help trafficking victims living in shelters in India who are being harmed by the pandemic. As other parts of the world begin returning to normal, India is in crisis; please keep the people of India in your thoughts and consider donating if you are able.
“Coronavirus in INDIA: Record 4.12 LAKH New COVID-19 Cases in a DAY, Deaths near
4,000”, The Business Today, 6 May 2021, www.businesstoday.in/current/economy-
deaths/story/438372.html, Accessed- 07/05/2021.
“India accounts for 1 in 4 coronavirus deaths in the World”, The Hindu, 29 April 2021,
https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ coronavirus-india-accounts-for-1-in-4-deaths-in-the-world-reports-over-380000-infections-for-the-first-time-on-april-29-2021/article34443570.ece, Accessed- 07/05/2021.
Vishnoi, Anubhuti. “Rising Indian variant B.1.617 responsible for recent covid surge”,
Economic Times, 6 May 2021, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/rising-indian-variant-b-1-617-responsible-for-case-surge/articleshow/82414999.cms, Accessed- 07/05/21
Yeung, Jessie. “As Covid sweeps India, experts say cases and deaths are going
unreported”, CNN, 28 April 2021, https://edition.cnn.com/2021/04/27/india/india-covid-underreporting-intl-hnk-dst/index.html, Accessed- 07/05/21.