World India's surge hits southern states, prompts more lockdowns
India's COVID-19 Crisis Is Spiraling Out of Control. It Didn't Have to Be This Way
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.
BENGALURU, India (AP) — Two southern states in India became the latest to declare lockdowns, as coronavirus cases surge at breakneck speed across the country and pressure mounts on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to implement a nationwide shutdown.
At over 300,000, Karnataka's capital of Bengaluru has the highest active caseload of any Indian city. But experts warn the worst is still ahead as India's third largest city buckles under oxygen shortages, overrun hospitals and crowded crematoriums. In Tamil Nadu state, the lockdown followed a daily record of more than 26,000 cases on Friday.
Modi could have prevented India's devastating Covid-19 crisis, critics say. He didn't
When countries rose in India, the country didn't go into lockdown. Instead, the government allowed mass gatherings at religious festivals and political rallies to go ahead.His country was on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. That day, India recorded more than 261,000 new coronavirus cases -- more than many countries have seen during the entire pandemic.
Infections have swelled in India since February in a disastrous turn blamed on more contagious variants as well as government decisions to allow massive crowds to gather for religious festivals and political rallies.
On Saturday, India reported 401,078 confirmed cases, including 4,187 deaths. Overall, India has more than 21.8 million confirmed infections and nearly 240,000 deaths. Experts say even those dramatic tolls are undercounts.
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We put your questions about the severity and handling of the coronavirus crisis in India to experts.Many of you have been sending us questions regarding the current situation and we asked experts inside and outside the BBC to answer them.
One doctor in Bengaluru said he's had to reject patients “left, right and center” as his hospital struggled to find more oxygen.
“The problem is the demand is so high that we need constant oxygen,” Dr. Sanjay Gururaj, the medical director at Shanti Hospital and Research Center, said. The hospital is sending a truck twice a day to oxygen plants on the outskirts of the city to bring back 12 jumbo oxygen cylinders. “In normal times, this would have lasted over two weeks - now, it lasts just over a day,” he added.
The state’s oxygen shortages prompted the high court on Wednesday to order the federal government to increase the daily liquid medical oxygen supplied to Karnataka. The ruling came after 24 COVID-19 patients died in a government hospital on Monday. It's unclear how many of them died due to the lack of oxygen, but an investigation is ongoing.
Opinion: India's Covid crisis has revealed the real Narendra Modi
Meenakshi Narula Ahamed writes that India's prime minister Narendra Modi's handling of the pandemic is endangering the country's public health but also its public institutions and democracy.By 2014, when Narendra Modi became prime minister of the world's largest democracy, India had long shed her image being one of the poorest nations teeming with starving and sick people in constant need of foreign aid. Under a team of pro-western reformers, India underwent an economic transformation in the 90's and by the early 2000's was being hailed as an economic powerhouse and an attractive partner for the western alliance.
Experts caution that the surge in Bengaluru is fast eclipsing other hard-hit cities like the capital, New Delhi, and Mumbai. Cases have increased 100-fold since February, said Murad Banaji, a mathematician modeling COVID-19 growth in India, citing official data. Test positivity has jumped to over 30%, which indicates the infection is much more widespread than confirmed figures, he added.
“Disaster was looming by early March, when cases started to shoot up,” he said. “Bangalore is more than a ticking time bomb right now - it is in the middle of an explosion.” Bengaluru was previously known as Bangalore.
Much of the focus in recent weeks has been on northern India, led by New Delhi, where television stations have broadcast images of patients lying on stretchers outside hospitals and of mass funeral pyres that burn throughout the night.
The situation unfurling in Karnataka has thrown attention to other southern states also battling a rise in cases. Daily cases have breached the 20,000 mark for the past three days in Andhra Pradesh state, leading to new restrictions there.
'Horrible' weeks ahead as India's virus catastrophe worsens
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, the undercount an apparent reflection of the troubles in the health care system.
Kerala, which emerged as a blueprint for tackling the pandemic last year, began a lockdown on Saturday. With daily cases crossing 40,000, the state is aggressively boosting resources, including converting hundreds of industrial oxygen cylinders into medical oxygen, said Dr. Amar Fetle, the state’s officer for COVID-19.
“The magnitude of cases from last year to now is vastly different,” he said, adding that increasing numbers have meant more hospitalizations and more strain on health care systems, with hospitals running nearly full. “It’s become a race between occupancy and how fast we can add beds. We’re trying to stay ahead of the virus as best as we can.”
It’s clear infections are rapidly rising across the southern region, but there has been “less visible outcry” than in the north because of relatively better health infrastructure and government initiatives that address problems at the community level, said Jacob John, professor of community medicine at Christian Medical College, Vellore.
But while the virus has ripped through large cities in waves, smaller towns and villages, where health care is less accessible, are now exposed.
“These places are quickly getting affected, which means we may not have sustained the worst yet in south India,” he said.
Misinformation surges amid India's COVID-19 calamity .
NEW DELHI (AP) — The man in the WhatsApp video says he has seen it work himself: A few drops of lemon juice in the nose will cure COVID-19. “If you practice what I am about to say with faith, you will be free of corona in five seconds,” says the man, dressed in traditional religious clothing. "This one lemon will protect you from the virus like a vaccine.” False cures. Terrifying stories of vaccine side effects. Baseless claims that Muslims spread the virus. Fueled by anguish, desperation and distrust of the government, rumors and hoaxes are spreading by word of mouth and on social media in India, compounding the country's humanitarian crisis.