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India's Covid disaster: Hundreds of thousands have been infected, lacking oxygen and hospital beds

India’s Covid disaster: Hundreds of thousands have been infected, lacking oxygen and hospital beds

The situation in Delhi is particularly desperate. “Every hospital is on the edge of a precipice. When they run out of oxygen, it is over for many patients. They are in their vents, they need a strong stream of oxygen. When it’s over, most of them will die,” said Dr. Sumit Ray of the Holy Family Hospital in Delhi.

On Saturday, 20 people died at Jaipur Gold Hospital in Delhi when the oxygen supply ran out. The new stocks were scheduled to arrive of 3.6 tons by Friday at 5:00 pm. It wasn’t until midnight that it arrived, but only a part of it. Eight other patients died on Sunday in two hospitals in southwest Delhi due to lack of oxygen.

Therefore, medical facilities are refusing to accept new patients. They recommend that people treat themselves at home. The prices of medicines and oxygen on the black market have risen dramatically. Ancha Prezhova spent the entire Sunday searching for a bottle of oxygen for her husband’s father, whose condition was deteriorating even further. The place was not in Delhi Hospital, nor in neighboring Noida.

There are no oxygen bottles in the shops. I only got it on the black market, paying 50,000 rupees (14,280 kronor) for it, while it usually cost 6,000 rupees. Her mother-in-law is also deteriorating, but she cannot afford another bottle of oxygen. The BBC has verified that most oxygen suppliers are now charging six times their price.

Rocket Growth Day Medicines

Drug prices have also increased dramatically. For example, a package containing 100 mg of remdesivir, which costs between 260 and 1,100 kronor, is now sold for 7,000 to 21,000 kronor. You can now get a package containing 400 mg of tocilizumab, which costs 11,500 kr, for 21,000 to 42,000 kr.

People buy remdesivir on the black market, even if given intravenously. Hospitals do not have them, and if their loved ones are hospitalized, they must bring it themselves. Production rose sharply, but the decision was late. The black market is full of fake products. However, most Indians could not even buy these drugs, the poorest who live in the slums do not even have paracetamol.

Institute of Medical Sciences director Randeep Joleria noted Sunday that panic is also contributing to the drug and oxygen shortages. According to him, most people at home do not need oxygen and should be left to hospitals: “About 85 to 90 percent of those infected only have symptoms of cold, fever, sore throat and body aches. They need symptomatic treatment at home and do not need to receive oxygen.” He stressed that remdesivir was not a panacea.

Hundreds of thousands of injured and labs are catching up

In India, which has a population of 1.3 billion, the disease has so far been confirmed in 17.31 million people, of whom 195,123 died. The death toll rose by 89 percent last week. However, health experts expect that there will be more victims, especially among the poor who have not even been tested. However, due to the small number of tests, the number of infected patients is likely to be greater.

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Labs aren’t catching up either. For PCR tests, results are waited for several days. This further complicates the treatment. However, without a positive test, even hospitals with available beds will not accept people. A CT scan of the lungs, which can confirm inflammation, also waits a long time.

In the capital and many other areas, the bodies of victims were burned en masse outside the open-air crematoriums due to the high number of deaths. In Bihar state, paramedics were already dragging bodies to the ground because a stretcher had run out.

The cremation of the bodies of COVID-19 victims in front of the Bombay Hospital.

Photo: Rajanesh Kakadi, ČTK / AP

Despite the maximum case of 960,000 confirmed cases in Delhi and four million injured in the worst-affected state of Maharashtra in the capital, Mumbai, the elections were not postponed. The seventh stage began on Monday in West Bengal state, before occurring in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu or Bihar, where there was no increase in the number of injured. This week, a vote will be held in Uttar Pradesh, where 30,000 new infections are recorded every day.

However, the Kumbh Mela and Holly holidays may have contributed to the spread of the epidemic.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing criticism for this, but he has not changed his approach, although several pre-election rallies were held before the election, and one to two million believers came to Haridwar every day for the komba.