World 'Horrible' weeks ahead as India's virus catastrophe worsens
India Gains Aid Pledges; EU Welcomes U.S. Tourists: Virus Update
India’s Covid-19 crisis is worsening, with a million cases added in the past three days. The U.S. will send India raw materials and step up financing aid for vaccine production, joining European countries in helping stem the world’s biggest surge in cases. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser said the U.S. will also consider offering India unused doses of AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine. With the Delhi capital area facing a severe oxygen shortage, Prime Minister Narendra Modi implored Indians to get vaccinated and to disregard rumors about dangerous side-effects.
NEW DELHI (AP) — COVID-19 infections and deaths are mounting with alarming speed in India with no end in sight to the crisis and a top expert warning that the coming weeks in the country of nearly 1.4 billion people will be “horrible.”
India's official count of coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million Tuesday, nearly doubling in the past three months, while deaths officially have passed 220,000. Staggering as those numbers are, the true figures are believed to be far higher,an apparent reflection of the troubles in the health care system.
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India is experiencing the world's worst Covid-19 outbreak, recording the highest daily cases globally for five straight days.Now, the country is experiencing the world's worst outbreak. Daily cases have been rising continuously for the past 10 days; on Monday, India reported 352,991 new cases, breaking yet another record for the highest single-day figure globally.
The country has witnessed scenes of people dying outside overwhelmed hospitals and funeral pyres lighting up the night sky.
Infections have surged in India since February in a disastrous turn blamed on more contagious variants of the virus as well as government decisions to allow massive crowds to gather for Hindu religious festivals and political rallies before state elections.
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The country is now facing the world’s worst COVID-19 outbreak, and a devastating humanitarian crisisScenes of mass death are now unavoidable in what’s often called the world’s largest democracy. Social media is filled with images of body bags and urgent requests for medical aid. Indians gasping for breath are being turned away from overwhelmed hospitals, sometimes simply because they don’t have lab reports confirming COVID-19 infection. Health workers plead for basic supplies. “We feel so angry,” says Kanchan Pandey, a community health worker in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. “At least give us some masks and gloves.
India’s top health official, Rajesh Bhushan, refused to speculate last month as to why authorities weren’t better prepared. But the cost is clear: People are dying because of shortages of bottled oxygen and hospital beds or because they couldn’t get a COVID-19 test.
India’s official average of newly confirmed cases per day has soared from over 65,000 on April 1 to about 370,000, and deaths per day have officially gone from over 300 to more than 3,000.
On Tuesday, the health ministry reported 357,229 new cases in the past 24 hours and 3,449 deaths from COVID-19.
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NEW DELHI (AP) — In hopes of taming a monstrous spike in COVID-19 infections, India opened vaccinations to all adults Saturday, launching a huge inoculation effort that was sure to tax the limits of the federal government, the country's vaccine factories and the patience of its 1.4 billion people. The world's largest maker of vaccines was still short of critical supplies — the result of lagging manufacturing and raw material shortages that delayed the rollout in several states. And even in places where the shots were in stock, the country’s wide economic disparities made access to the vaccine inconsistent.
Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health in the U.S., said he is concerned that Indian policymakers he has been in contact with believe things will improve in the next few days.
“I’ve been ... trying to say to them, `If everything goes very well, things will be horrible for the next several weeks. And it may be much longer,‘” he said.
Jha said the focus needs to be on “classic” public health measures: targeted shutdowns, more testing, universal mask-wearing and avoiding large gatherings.
“That is what’s going to break the back of this surge,” he said.
The death and infection figures are considered unreliable because testing is patchy and reporting incomplete. For example, government guidelines ask Indian states to include suspected COVID-19 cases when recording deaths from the outbreak, but many do not do so.
The U.S., with one-fourth the population of India, has recorded more than 2 1/2 times as many deaths, at around 580,000.
Opinion: Modi has offered little more than hollow words amid India's horrifying covid crisis
On April 20, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the country following a surge in Covid-19 cases. People were expecting answers, a plan, something. Instead, Modi said he felt the pain of the nation but opted not to instate a nationwide lockdown, which several states had already initiated by the time of his address. He also encouraged young people to form neighborhood watch committees to ensure people were following Covid-19 protocols. © Abhishek Chinnappa/Getty Images BENGALURU, INDIA - APRIL 30: A man wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) performs the last rites of a deceased relative in a disused granite quarry repurposed to cremate the dead
Municipal records for this past Sunday show 1,680 dead in the Indian capital were treated according to the procedures for handing the bodies of those infected with COVID-19. But in the same 24-hour period, only 407 deaths were added to the official toll from New Delhi.
The New Delhi High Court announced it will start punishing government officials if supplies of oxygen allocated to hospitals are not delivered. “Enough is enough,” it said.
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Misconceptions about Covid-19 have spread in India and beyond, and some have been accepted as truth. Here's our fact check of some common myths.India is reporting the world's highest number of new cases each day. So many people are dying that crematoriums are struggling to keep up. And the real number of cases and deaths could be many times higher than officially reported.
The deaths reflect the fragility of India’s health system. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party has countered criticism by pointing out that the underfunding of health care has been chronic.
But this was all the more reason for authorities to use the several months when cases in India declined to shore up the system, said Dr. Vineeta Bal of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research.
“Only a patchwork improvement would’ve been possible,” she said. But the country “didn’t even do that.”
Now authorities are scrambling to make up for lost time. Beds are being added in hospitals, more tests are being done, oxygen is being sent from one corner of the country to another, and manufacturing of the few drugs effective against COVID-19 is being scaled up.
The challenges are steep in states where elections were held and unmasked crowds probably worsened the spread of the virus. The average number of daily infections in West Bengal state has increased by a multiple of 32 to over 17,000 since the balloting began.
“It’s a terrifying crisis,” said Dr. Punyabrata Goon, convener of the West Bengal Doctors’ Forum.
Goon added that the state also needs to hasten immunizations. But the world’s largest maker of vaccines is short of shots — the result of lagging manufacturing and raw material shortages.
On the ground and afar, diaspora boosts India's virus fight
India's large diaspora — long a boon to India's economy — is tapping its wealth, political clout and expertise to help its home country combat the catastrophic coronavirus surge that has left people to die outside overwhelmed hospitals. Around the world, people of Indian descent are donating money, personally delivering desperately needed oxygen equipment and setting up telehealth consultations and information sessions in hopes of beating back the outbreak.Two humanitarian groups in the U.S. led by people of Indian background raised more than $25 million in recent days to help the teetering health care system.
Experts are also worried the prices being charged for shots will make it harder for the poor to get vaccinated. On Monday, opposition parties urged the government make vaccinations free to all Indians.
India is vaccinating about 2.1 million people daily, or around 0.15% of its population.
“This is not going to end very soon,” said Dr. Ravi Gupta, a virus expert at the University of Cambridge in England. “And really ... the soul of the country is at risk in a way.”
Associated Press writer Danica Kirka in London contributed to this report.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
India's Covid-19 catastrophe could make global shortages even worse .
A terrifying and record-breaking wave of Covid-19 in India threatens to stall the country's economic recovery and send shockwaves through several important global industries. © Saqib Majeed/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images SRINAGAR, INDIA - 2021/05/09: An elderly man walk past closed shops during a coronavirus curfew imposed by the authorities following the surge in COVID-19 cases in Srinagar. Coronavirus curfew in Jammu and Kashmir has been extended till May 17 to contain the surge in coronavirus cases, officials said on Sunday.