India has the second largest population in the world. With over 1.38 billion inhabitants, the coronavirus pandemic has taken a large toll on the country. With a lack of supplies, workers, and hospital space, their healthcare system is hanging onto its last thread. As the virus continues to devastate the country, urgent help is required.
In March 2020, when COVID-19 first came to light, the government of India imposed one of the harshest lockdowns seen at the time. There was a nation-wide lockdown, limiting people’s movement and giving them curfews. This lockdown seemed to have a positive effect as India had only seen around 500 cases at the time. Now, the country struggles to resist its devastating second wave. They saw numbers rise to 400,000 daily new cases and 4000 daily deaths in May. Since the start of the pandemic, the country has reported almost 30 million cases with over 330,000 related deaths. The number of deaths is not known, however, as the overwhelming amount of reports from crematoriums, cemeteries, and obituaries, makes it difficult to get a true number.
The current healthcare system in the country is not strong enough to support the ongoing crisis. There is a limited supply of workers, beds, oxygen, and other equipment, making it difficult to contain the virus and treat those affected. There have been an alarming amount of reports of patients dying in waiting rooms or outside of clinics before even being given the chance to see a medical professional. Experts feared what would eventually come to pass – that the virus would spread into smaller towns and villages, who do not have a stable enough infrastructure to combat a surge of cases. The effects of coronavirus have been catastrophic so far, but new numbers of cases have thankfully begun to recede after a peak during May.
Pyres lit with fire could be seen throughout the country, where they are used to cremate bodies. Many workers have reported that they have had to cremate around 100-120 bodies per day. This is absolutely traumatizing for grieving families and friends who are mourning their loved ones. These make-shift crematoriums are also extremely crowded, causing people to often fight for space and putting them at greater risk of being infected. With a feeling of helplessness, people turn their frustration to the government who is currently struggling to take action.
Many states and cities have imposed new restrictions in attempts to reduce the spread of the virus. The prime minister, Narendra Modi, has also approved an income of oxygen supplies and international aid. With more countries sending in supplies, the health infrastructure in India can help repair itself, but another problem arises. Oxygen plants and supply distribution is a timely process and cities currently need urgent help and accessible resources.
By educating yourself on the situation and donating if you can, you can help India fight against the pandemic.