India’s gravediggers are working around the clock as COVID cases in India pass 18 million after recording another world record number of daily infections. They don’t have a moment of rest as they bury victims, and hundreds more are cremated in makeshift pyres in parking lots and parks.
On Thursday, the country reported 279,257 new caces, and 3,645 deaths, the highest number of fatalities in a day since the start of the pandemic.
Mumbai gravedigger, Sayyed Munir Kamruddin said he and his colleagues are working non-stop to bury the victims.
Image via Reuters India
“I’m not scared of Covid, I’ve worked with courage. It’s all about courage, not about fear,” he said. “This is our only job. Getting the body, removing it from the ambulance, and then burying it.”
Image via NBC News
Everyday, thousands of Indians search frantically for hospital beds and oxygen cylinders for sick families and relatives, even opting for social media apps and personal contacts to get help.
Hospital beds that become available will be snatched up in seconds in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) following the severity of the second wave. Hospitals and morgue are overwhelmed that mosques, hotels and even railway coaches are converted into critical care facilities to make up for the shortage of hospital beds.
Image via Twitter
"The ferocity of the second wave took everyone by surprise," K. VijayRaghavan, principal scientific adviser to the government, was quoted as saying in the Indian Express newspaper.
"While we were all aware of second waves in other countries, we had vaccines at hand, and no indications from modelling exercises suggested the scale of the surge."
Despite the second wave taking the health system by surprise, India’s official death rate (147.2 per million) is below that of the United States (1,700) and Brazil (1,800).
However, it is believed that the number of deaths are likely to be under-reported and the real numbers may be five to ten times greater than the official tally.
In an effort to help ease the healthcare system, India's military has begun moving key supplies, such as oxygen, across the nation and will open its healthcare facilities to civilians.
By mid-May, the oxygen crisis is expected to ease, with output rising by 25 percent and the transport system ready to cope, said a top industry executive.
“My expectation is that by the middle of May we will definitely have the transport infrastructure in place that allows us to service this demand across the country,” said Moloy Banerjee of Linde Plc, India’s biggest oxygen producer.
Outside countries including Russia, the United States, Bangladesh, Germany, and the United Kingdom are reported to send medical aids such as oxygen cylinders, ventilators, medicines, medical masks, rapid diagnostic tests, as well as vaccines and more to India.
Shipment containing oxygen concentrators from the United Kingdom
Image via Twitter
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been criticised for allowing massive political rallies and religious festivals which have been super-spreader events in recent weeks.
Hoping for better days for India. I hope Malaysians reading this will always be reminded that the COVID situation will get worse if we’re not careful.
Credits to Asia One for the initial coverage.