The biggest vaccine manufacturing country is amidst the most contagious phase of coronavirus globally. With more than 300,000 cases of infection daily and 2000 daily deaths, India is severely discommoded by the second wave of COVID19. Lack of oxygen, beds in hospitals, vaccines, and medicines is further worsening the already dire condition of the nation.
With the rush in the hospitals, 24/7 cremating deceased patients, and overwhelmed health care system; what has led India to this dreadful stage of the pandemic? How are the healthcare and government coping up with the occurred situation? And how can India curb the mind-boggling infections?
The Second Wave of COVID19
In late 2020 and early 2021, the declining cases of infection restarted the country’s economic wheel. The business reopened, factories resumed their works, numerous academic institutes opened up after about a year’s break triggered by the Pandemic. Various festivals including the Holi was celebrated with full enthusiasm. Just a couple of months ago the relief of less coronavirus in the vicinity was making India feel good about itself.
But with this false sense of normalcy, the country failed to see the lurking second wave making its way in early February. The severity of the second wave can be felt just by looking at the highest number of cases recorded when the first wave of COVID was at its peak, 100,000 to today, when it’s been just a few weeks of the second wave and the average cases are soring more than 300,000 a day.
Analysts and observers were warning the country that the second wave of COVID was going to be devastating, and wanted India to be prepared for it. The second wave is spreading at an exponential speed. Huge religious gatherings like the Kumbh Mela, election rallies, and crowded public places are further adding more fuel to the already blazing fire.
Overwhelmed Healthcare System
The healthcare system in many parts of the country, especially the capital state, Delhi is on the verge of running out of basic medical supplies. The cry of a chronic shortage of medical oxygen, hospital beds, and vaccines can be clearly heard through thousands of social media posts that are desperately asking followers for help.
Overcrowd hospitals, 24/7 blazing departed bodies at cremation centers is depicting India’s tragic situation. For coping up with the increasing demand for hospital beds, many playgrounds, educational institutions, and even train coaches have been transformed into temporary health centers; especially in the severely hit cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Ahemdabad. The situation in other cities is more or less the same.
Many patients have died just in the search for hospitals with available beds. Inside the health care centers, the situation is getting worse every single day. Acute shortage of oxygen and medicines has caused thousands to die; the condition has gone soo out of hand that now even the morgues and crematoriums are running out of space.
The lack of basic medicals kits is sparking robberies and black marketing of drugs from the hospitals. Cremation centers are also overwhelmed by a huge number of corpses every single day. According to data published by the Indian government, the death rate is doubling every 7 days.
How IS The Second Wave Of COVID19 Different From The First?
Though the first case of COVID19 was reported in January; India witnessed the peak of the first wave of COVID19 in November and December last year. Whereas the second wave has overwhelmed the country in just the first couple of months.
Experts believe that the spiking graph and nationwide crisis is not solely the result of the un-precautionary approach of people when the COVID cases were dimming; but also because of the new strain of the virus, especially the homegrown variant which was found in more than 60% of all the infected patients.
The fact that hospitals are running short of oxygen, ICU beds, etc has spread like a forest fire and is causing massive anxiety to the patients and their family members. Doctors on the other hand are also exhausted by bearing the brunt of the false sense of normalcy amongst people earlier this year.
Experts are saying that time is slipping out, and the country needs to take some stringent, urgent actions for containing the spread. But what can be done?
What is The Way Out?
The last year’s massive migration of laborers from cities to villages due to nationwide closure has clearly put strict lockdowns off the table. The economy has just started to revive, unemployment is the highest in the last 45-year and lockdowns will mean more joblessness, less income, and great stress for the working class. But, analysts believe short, controlled lockdowns could help in curbing the spread to some extent.
Furthermore, the largest producer of vaccines is running out of vaccines themselves. Only people over the age of 45 were allowed to be vaccinated, apart from the medical staff and security forces, leaving more than 80% of the country’s population without the COVID vaccine. Moreover, on the contrary to first wave infections, in the second wave, young people were infected more than the elderly. Seeing the dire state, the government has passed an order that will allow people over the age of 18 to get the dose after first May 2021.
It is time for the government to put all its cards on the table and step in to do whatever it takes to curb the infection and balance the countries medical system.