India records world’s biggest single-day rise in coronavirus cases
India recorded the world’s highest daily tally of 314,835 COVID-19 infections on Thursday as a second wave of the pandemic raised new fears about the ability of crumbling health services to cope.
Health officials across northern and western India including the capital, New Delhi, said they were in crisis, with most hospitals full and running out of oxygen.
Doctors in some places were advising patients to stay at home while a crematorium in the eastern city of Muzaffarpur said it was being overwhelmed with bodies and grieving families had to wait their turn.
“Right now there are no beds, no oxygen. Everything else is secondary,” Shahid Jameel, a virologist and director of the Trivedi School of Biosciences at Ashoka University, told Reuters.
“The infrastructure is crumbling.”
Krutika Kuppalli, assistant professor at the Division of Infectious Diseases, Medical University of South Carolina in the United States, said on Twitter the crisis was leading to a collapse of the healthcare system.
The previous record one-day rise in cases was held by the United States, which had 297,430 new cases on one day in January, though its tally has since fallen sharply.
India’s total cases are now at 15.93 million, while deaths rose by 2,104 to reach a total of 184,657, according to the latest health ministry data.
Television showed images of people with empty oxygen cylinders crowding refilling facilities as they scrambled to save relatives in hospital.
In the western city of Ahmedabad, a man strapped to an oxygen cylinder lay in the back of a car outside a hospital as he waited for a bed, a Reuters picture showed.
“We never thought a second wave would hit us so hard,” Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, executive chairman of the healthcare firm Biocon & Biocon Biologics, wrote in the Economic Times.
“Complacency led to unanticipated shortages of medicines, medical supplies and hospital beds.”…..read more