Indian hospitals battle ‘chaotic’ surge as daily virus infections cross 200,000
Many Indians scrambled on Thursday to secure beds in hospitals for relatives stricken with coronavirus as infections surged to a daily record, overwhelming medical facilities and drying up oxygen supplies.
A massive second wave of infections is centred on the rich state of Maharashtra, which makes up a quarter of the tally, and is spreading wider as doctors and experts blame everything from official complacency to aggressive variants.
The government has blamed a widespread failure to adhere to norms on physical distancing and the use of masks.
“The situation is horrible,” said Avinash Gawande, an official of a government hospital in the industrial city of Nagpur that was battling a flood of patients, as were hospitals in neighbouring Gujarat state and Delhi in the north.
“We are a 900-bed hospital, but there are about 60 patients waiting and we don’t have space for them.”
Maharashtra, home to the financial capital of Mumbai, began a lockdown at midnight to rein in the spread of disease, a move that spurred a rush to stockpile essential items in advance.
India has added 200,739 infections over the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed, for a seventh daily record surge in the last eight days, while 1,038 deaths took its toll to 173,123.
Its tally of 14.1 million infections is second only to the United States, with 31.4 million.
Despite injecting about 113 million vaccine doses, the highest figure worldwide after the United States and China, India has covered only a small part of its 1.4 billion people…..read more