India’s COVID Crisis

India showed the world how deadly Covid-19 really is

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Photo via Northeastern under the Creative Commons license

India has been hit the hardest by Covid, and this result was inevitable

India is breaking all the records that it doesn’t want to.  A country that once seemed immune to the spread of the coronavirus has turned into the epicenter of it. On April 21st, India broke the world record for the most Covid-19 cases in one day with 314,000 cases. After that, the cases only spiked; as of 5/4/21, the 7 day average is 382,315 cases. So, what does the situation in India look like right now, how did the country get into this mess, and how is the government handling the crisis? Most importantly, how can you help?

 

What’s the situation like right now?

To say the least, it’s a calamity. We often hear the term “hospitals are at a breaking point” or “hospitals are at peak capacity.” With the situation in India, the hospitals are “broken” – they are way above peak capacity. Patients are getting turned down left and right because the hospitals simply don’t have the space for them. As a result, many are dying because they aren’t able to receive the care they need, which is truly a tragedy. Due to a major oxygen shortage, most hospitals can’t even give oxygen to critical patients. The amount of deaths that are piling up is unfathomable. What’s even scarier is how many deaths are going under reported. It is estimated that the Covid-19 deaths are being under reported by 10-15 times, meaning that the 7-day average is between 3,823,150 and 5,734,725 cases.

May was by far the deadliest month for India’s Covid Crisis (Screenshot via John Hopkins University)

How did India end up in this situation?

To put it into simple words, people thought that the virus had passed. From late March to early June, India had imposed a strict lockdown throughout the country. There were strict curfews, police spread throughout the streets, and an overall sense of urgency.

The reason that India is in such dire straits now is that they had an original surge and made the incorrect assumption that they were finished with it, and what happened, they opened up prematurely and wind up having a surge right now that we’re all very well aware of is extremely devastating.”

— Dr. Anthony Fauci

However, when June rolled around and most of the world started to ease their restrictions, India followed suit. Cases started to rise in July and spiked in August at about 90,000 cases per day. At that point though, the fatality rate was considerably lower compared to the rest of the world, leading the country to believe that they had “beat Covid-19”.  By November of 2020, life was back in full force. People reverted back to their normal life,  masks disappeared, and social distancing was well in the past.

Things were looking bright for the people of India until about early March. Throughout March, cases were on a slow incline and by the end of March there were about 60,000 cases a day. The government continued to stand firm that they had overpowered the virus. But oh, how wrong they were. Once April arrived, the world watched in horror as COVID ravaged through India. Deaths were increasing at an exponential rate. Hospitals were engulfed by patients and doctors were forced to work 24/7. It soon became clear that no nation was immune to COVID.

Doctors bringing medical supplies to lower income areas in India (Photo via Sciencemag under the Creative Commons license)

How is the government handling the situation?

Similar to what the Trump administration did at the beginning of the pandemic, it is up to the Indian states to set the restrictions. Although all states have lockdowns instituted, some have stricter regulations than others. Granted, the national government is takings some actions, but many have criticized them for being negligent and unsafe in their decisions. They held massive political rallies without any social distancing or mask mandates– characteristics that are cited for super-spreader events.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has received a lot of criticism for his handling of the Pandemic (Photo via Wikimedia under the Creative Commons license)

How can you help?

After reading all of this, it may seem that you can’t do much to help with the situation. However, there are few ways you can make a difference- with the main thing being donating to charities. Linked below are some trustable charities that you can donate to. Another greatly appreciated way to help is through spreading awareness on social media. The more people that know about the crisis, the more money and resources will be donated.

Direct Relief: Distributes medical supplies and concentrated oxygen

Oxygen for India: Ensures that hospitals have oxygen cylinders for patients

Project HOPE: Provides medical supplies and educates communities on how to stop the spread of Coronavirus

Association for India’s Development: Donates PPE and oxygen to hospitals

The Indian Red Cross Society: Provide medical resources to hospitals and helps to administer vaccine shots