India COVID ‘storm’ hits new records as oxygen supplies run short
India’s COVID-19 outbreak has set new records with 2,023 deaths in 24 hours – the highest single-day tally for the country so far – as hospitals run perilously low on oxygen amid rising demand for beds.
Coronavirus infections also rose by a record, increasing by 295,041 over the last 24 hours, the health ministry data showed on Wednesday. Total deaths reached 182,553.
India’s overall case tally is now at 15.6 million, second only to the United States which has over 31 million infections.
But Indian hospitals are scrambling to shore up supplies of medical oxygen amid rising demand for beds as a fast-spreading second wave of coronavirus stretches the country’s chronically underfunded medical infrastructure to breaking point, officials and doctors said.
‘No place for you’
Seema Gandotra, sick with the coronavirus, gasped for breath in an ambulance for 10 hours, as it tried unsuccessfully at six hospitals in India’s sprawling capital, New Delhi, to find an open bed.
By the time she was admitted, it was too late, and the 51-year-old died hours later.
Rajiv Tiwari, whose oxygen levels began falling after he tested positive for the virus, has the opposite problem: He identified a hospital that could accommodate him but the 30-something resident of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh state could not get to it.
“There is no ambulance to take me to hospital,” he said.
Indian hospitals are understaffed and overflowing. Intensive care units are full. Nearly all ventilators are in use and the dead are piling up at crematoriums and graveyards.
Delhi’s government hospitals reported they only had enough oxygen to last another eight to 24 hours while some private ones had enough for just four or five hours.
“We are facing huge problems in oxygen supply but somehow we are managing. Yesterday, it was very critical. We had only four to five hours oxygen in the evening,” said Ronit Kumar, head Biomedical Engineering at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute…..read more
Source: Al Jazeera