In India, which is averaging more than 2,000 Covid-related fatalities and 300,000 new infections per day, understaffed hospitals are running out of beds for patients and pleading with government authorities for desperately-needed medical supplies, while crematoriums and graveyards are being overwhelmed.
India’s Ministry of Health and Welfare reported a staggering 346,786 new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, shattering the record for most infections by any country in a single 24-hour span.
Fortis Healthcare suspended new admissions to its hospitals in Delhi, according to Reuters, which also reported families have been forced to tend to the ill in the streets and hospital hallways.
Moolchand Hospital in New Delhi tweeted Saturday morning it had “less than 2 hours of oxygen” for 135 Covid patients, many on life support.
According to the New York Times, crematoriums in Kanpur are so backed up that corpses are being burned in the city’s parks.
Outside of a crematorium in Lucknow, bodies were being incinerated on sidewalks, according to an Associated Press report.
“I get numerous calls every day from patients desperate for a bed. The demand is far too much than the supply,” Dr. Sanjay Gururaj, a doctor at Bengaluru-based Shanti Hospital, told the AP. “In the last week, three patients of mine have died at home because they were unable to get beds. As a doctor, it’s an awful feeling.”
India was reporting fewer than 15,000 daily infections as recently as early March. However, loosened restrictions that led to the resumption of large, unmasked gatherings contributed to a rapid rise in cases, as has a devastating new variant of the coronavirus. Many experts believe the B.1.617 variant, or the “double mutant,” has inflamed the country’s catastrophic second wave.