India has reported a global record of more than 314,000 new infections as a gloomy wave of coronavirus in the world’s second most populous country sends more and more patients to a fragile healthcare system lacking hospital beds and oxygen
314,835 infections added in the past 24 hours have increased the total of 15.9 million cases in India since the start of the pandemic. It is the second highest overall score in the world, next to the United States. India has almost 1.4 billion people.
The number of deaths has increased by 2,104 in the past 24 hours, increasing the total number of deaths in India to 184,657, the Ministry of Health announced.
A large number of hospitals report an acute shortage of beds and medications and operate at dangerously low oxygen levels.
The New Delhi High Court on Wednesday ordered the government to divert oxygen from industrial to hospitals to save lives. “It can’t happen to you that people die because there is no oxygen. Pray, borrow or steal, it’s a national necessity,” the judges said in response to a petition from a New Delhi hospital asking for its intervention.
The government is rushing with oxygen tankers to replenish hospital supplies.
Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday that “supply and demand are monitored non-stop”. In a tweet, he said that the government, in order to solve the exponential jump in demand, increased the oxygen quota for the most severely affected seven countries.
Locking and strict curbs have brought pain, fear and agony into many lives in New Delhi and other cities.
Scenes known across the country show ambulances rushing from one hospital to another, trying to find an empty bed. Bereaved relatives line up in front of the crematorium where the arrival of the corpses jumped several times.
“Every day, many patients call me who desperately want a bed. Demand is too much from supply, ”said Dr. Sanjay Gururaj, a doctor at Bengaluru-based Shanti Hospital and Research Center.
“I try to find beds for patients every day and I’m incredibly frustrated that I can’t help them. In the last week, three of my patients have died at home because they failed to get beds. As a doctor, it is a terrible feeling, ”said Gururaj.
Yogesh Dixit, a resident of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, said earlier this week that he had to buy two 12,000 rupee ($ 160) oxygen bottles for his ailing father, more than double the usual cost because the state hospital in Lucknow ran out of supplies.
He bought two “because doctors can ask for another oxygen bottle at any time,” he said, adding that he had to sell his wife’s jewelry to cover expenses.
The main cremation site in Lucknow, the state capital, received nearly 200 bodies on Sunday. Shekar Chakraborty, 68, described the scene “Bodies were everywhere, cremated on sidewalks intended for walking. I had never in my life had such a flow of dead bodies,” he said.
In Kanpur, the second city in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 35 new temporary platforms have been set up on the Bithoor-Sidhnath Ghat stretch along the Ganges River for cremation.
The Ministry of Health said that out of the total production in the country of 7,500 metric tons (8,300 US tons) of oxygen per day, 6,600 metric tons (7,275 US tons) are allocated for medical use.
It is also stated that 75 railway carriages in the Indian capital have been turned into hospitals that provide an additional 1,200 beds for patients with COVID-19.
The Times of India says the previous highest daily number of cases of 307,581 was recorded in the U.S. on January 8th.
Associated Press writers Krutika Pathi of New Delhi and Biswajeet Banerjee of Lucknow, India contributed to the report.