India's COVID-19 cases spike as thousands congest hospitals for access to Oxygen
NEW DELHI - Ever since the novel COVID-19 pandemic struck, several parts of the world have had their own share of challenges with nations ravaging in deep economic crises and fatalities, thus almost wrecking operations, whether government or privately sponsored.
With the US, Brazil, and Italy being the worst hit, the wave seems to have shifted to India, one of the world's giant economies. So fast are the cases spreading that even controlling the has been so problematic, leaving thousands exposed?
On Friday, people across India scrambled for life-saving oxygen supplies and patients lay dying outside hospitals as the capital New Delhi recorded the equivalent of one death from COVID-19 every five minutes according to Reuters.
According to records obtained by Reuters, India posted a record tally of 346,786 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, while daily deaths from COVID-19 also jumped by a record, government data released on Saturday showed.
Deaths rose by 2,624 to reach a total of 189,544, according to health ministry data. This is the world record for the second straight day that raised the total number of cases past 16 million since the pandemic began.
With more than 4 million cases recorded, Maharashtra is the worst affected state in the country with nearly 1.4 billion people. Images of mass cremations are circulating online, as India grapples with the deluge of deaths and a collapsing health care system.
The surge has brought pain, fear, and anxiety to millions of families across the country. As they desperately try to navigate the crisis, thousands of Indians are turning to social media for help.
The news comes just hours before India is added to England's travel red list on Friday, meaning arrivals will have to quarantine in hotels from then on for 10 days of isolation. This is a precautionary measure as the world rushes to obtain vaccines.
Scientists are particularly concerned about the Indian variant, as it contains two significant mutations of the spike protein, which could mean vaccines are less effective against it.
One of the concerning mutations, called L452R, has also been found in a variant circulating in California, though there is no link between the viruses, as the Indian variant has evolved independently.
The pandemic first struct China, where thousands of people died from millions of infections but the communist state has seemingly mitigated the crisis. India is one of the most populous countries in the world and the surge in COVID-19 infections means thousands of people risk death.