The figures are frightening. 2,34,692 fresh Covid cases were registered across India on Friday, taking the total active caseload to 16,79,740 cases. With 1,341 deaths recorded on Friday, the total Covid-related death toll has now touched 1,75,649.
The spread of the second wave of Covid pandemic can be gauged from the fact that one out of every four Covid cases detected throughout the world is from India. We have already crossed the peak of the first wave that was there in September last year.
At the top of the tally from 16 states, Maharashtra logged 63,729 new cases and 398 deaths. Uttar Pradesh registered 27,426 fresh cases and 103 deaths. Delhi recorded more than 19.500 cases and 141 deaths.
If the figures are frightening, the visuals inside and outside hospitals, morgues and crematoriums are scary.
India TV reporters on Friday visited many of the top hospitals in Delhi, Mumbai and other cities to get first-hand reports on how the doctors and other healthcare workers are struggling against gigantic odds. There were long queues for RT-PCR tests, if anybody was found positive and needed hospitalization, there were simply no beds, there was a scarcity of vital medicines, oxygen and ventilators, and if anybody succumbed to the virus, the conditions at the crematoriums were appalling. Doctors and nurses wearing PPE kits are toiling day and night to save the lives of people. A senior doctor told me, he was found positive a few months ago and had a break from work, but now he is back to work again.
There were patients lying in the lobbies and even outside hospitals, waiting for oxygen and treatment. An atmosphere of fear is pervading, in homes, in hospitals, at vaccination centers, and in crematoriums. Visuals of dozens of bodies being cremated on pyres create a frightening effect.
At Delhi's LNJP hospital, ambulances arrive every few minutes bringing in new patients. There were two or three patients lying on a single bed, even though the official app shows the hospital has 739 unoccupied beds. 1500 out of 1620 beds in LNJP hospital have an oxygen facility. There are 300 beds in ICU. The LNJP hospital chief Dr. Suresh Kumar said, sometimes many patients arrive at a single point of time, it takes time to prepare beds and since all of them need oxygen, it is a difficult task to allot them beds having this facility. For two or more people occupying a single bed, he said, in some families, more than two members have been found positive and need hospitalization. The system has practically collapsed at this hospital, though the hospital chief has his own views about the critical situation.
The situation in Mumbai hospitals is worse. There are no beds, no oxygen, nor any ventilator to cater to the long queues of patients awaiting admission. There is an acute shortage of oxygen in most hospitals. In Nagpur, a doctor and a ward boy were caught with 15 Remdesivir vials which they were trying to sell for Rs 16,000 each. Three people were caught in Kanpur with more than 250 Remdesivir vials.
A scary video of 40 bodies being cremated at a time in Bhopal is already viral on social media. The state government is trying to hide the real number of Covid deaths. On April 15, 112 people were cremated in Bhopal, but the state government reported the death of only 8 people in Bhopal. Similarly in Lucknow, daily 100 to 150 bodies are being cremated at Gulala Ghat, but the official statistics say only 26 people died of Corona in Lucknow on April 15.
Officials claim that the difference in death figures is mainly because the final Covid reports were not available at the time of cremation, and yet, the bodies have to be cremated soon, due to lack of space and time, as per Covid protocol. However, I do not find any reason, why the state government would like to conceal the exact figures of Covid related deaths.
Meanwhile, the Kumbh Mela continues in Haridwar, despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi making a special plea to the sadhus to call off the remaining 'snans' and make the Kumbh Mela symbolic this time.
Overall, the second wave of Covid pandemic has caused a huge loss of lives across India. This was unthinkable even till last month. Despite several pleas to practice Covid protocol, by maintaining safe distancing, wearing masks, and staying away from crowds, many of the people chose to ignore these appeals. The results are there for all of us to see. People living in big metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Bhopal, are rushing to get themselves tested and reach the nearest hospitals to admit their near and dear ones. This situation could have been avoided. There is still time for all of us to try to state inside our homes and try to break this deadly chain of the Coronavirus.
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