Low on Beds, Oxygen, India Adds 314K Virus Cases Worldwide

NEW DELHI (AP) – India reported a global record of more than 314,000 new infections on Thursday as a grim coronavirus outbreak in the world’s second-most populous country sends more and more sick people to vulnerable healthcare facilities with a critical shortage of hospital beds and oxygen.

The 314,835 infections added in the past 24 hours increase the total number of cases from 15.9 million in India since the start of the pandemic. It is the second highest total in the world, next to the United States. India has nearly 1.4 billion people.

The number of fatalities has risen by 2,104 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll in India to 184,657, the Ministry of Health said.

A large number of hospitals report acute shortages of beds and medicines and operate with dangerously low oxygen levels.

The New Delhi Supreme Court ordered the government on Wednesday to direct oxygen from industrial use to hospitals to save human lives. “You cannot let people die because there is no oxygen. Beg, borrow or steal, it is a national emergency, ”the judges said in response to a petition from a hospital in New Delhi requesting intervention.

The government is rushing with oxygen tankers to replenish hospital supplies.

Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said Thursday that “supply and demand are monitored around the clock”. He said in a tweet that the government has increased the oxygen quota for the hardest hit seven states to address the exponential spike in demand.

Locks and strict curbs have caused pain, anguish and pain to many lives in New Delhi and other cities.

In scenes known across the country, we see ambulances running from one hospital to another in search of an empty bed. Grieving relatives line up in front of crematoriums where the arrival of corpses has jumped several times.

“I get countless calls every day from patients desperate for a bed. The demand is far too great than the supply, ”said Dr. Sanjay Gururaj, a physician at Shanti Hospital and Research Center in Bengaluru.

“I try to find beds for patients every day, and it was incredibly frustrating not to be able to help them. In the past week, three of my patients at home died because they couldn’t get a bed. As a doctor, that’s 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 oxygen bottles for 12,000 rupees ($ 160) each, more than twice the normal price, for his ailing father, as it was passed by the state. hospital run in Lucknow was out of supplies.

He bought two “because the doctors can ask for another oxygen cylinder at any time,” he said, adding that he had to sell his wife’s jewelry to cover the costs.

The main cremation site in Lucknow, the state capital, received nearly 200 bodies on Sunday. Shekhar Chakraborty, 68, described the scene “The bodies were everywhere, they were cremated on sidewalks meant for walking. I’ve never had such a flood of dead bodies in my life, ”he said.

In Kanpur, another town in Uttar Pradesh state, 35 new temporary platforms have been set up in the Bithoor-Sidhnath Ghat area along the Ganges River to cremate bodies.

The Ministry of Health said that of the country’s total production of 7,500 metric tons (8,300 US tons) of oxygen per day, 6,600 metric tons (7,275 US tons) was allocated for medical use.

It also said 75 rail cars in the Indian capital have been converted into hospitals with 1,200 extra beds for COVID-19 patients.

The Times of India newspaper says the previous highest daily number of cases of 307,581 was reported in the US on Jan. 8.


Associated Press writers Krutika Pathi in New Delhi and Biswajeet Banerjee in Lucknow, India contributed to the report.