For the third day running, India reported a daily increase of over three hundred thousand in what is reported to be fueled by a new and more potent strain of the Covid-19 virus. This was reported by the Indian health ministry as hospitals in the second-most populous country in the world were battling to meet the oxygen needs of their patients.
The government, in response to SOS calls for oxygen supplies from many hospitals around the country, chief among which are those in the capital, New Delhi, deployed military planes and helicopters to try and avert the impending disaster. An oxygen truck was seen on television arriving at Batra Hospital in Delhi after the hospital issued an SOS saying it had only 90 minutes of oxygen left for its 260 patients. “Please help us get oxygen, there will be a tragedy here,” appealed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a conference on Friday.
It is said that Delhi has hit a rate of one Covid-19 death every four minutes as the health system struggles to cope with the second wave of the pandemic. The high rate of increase in new cases is apparently not limited to hospitals in the capital only. Local media have also reported increases in the cities of Jaipur and Amritsar, who are also reported to be requesting additional supplies of oxygen.
The Covid-19 related complications are not only limited to the increase in the number of new cases but have also permeated to the increase in the number of deaths, which has logically affected the crematoriums. Over the last three days, India has recorded increasing numbers of daily deaths with a rate of 2 624 new deaths in the last 24 hours which is the highest recorded so far. This is to the extent that the crematoriums around the capital of New Delhi are beginning to send families of the deceased back home to wait as they cannot take all cases at the same time. In total so far, India has recorded 16,6 million cases of the virus, with 189 544 deaths.