India has reported a record 200,739 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, according to data released by the Ministry of Health, with many hospitals treating coronavirus patients reporting severe shortages of beds and facilities. oxygen supplies.
The deaths stood at 1,038, bringing the total to 173,123, according to data on Thursday. The country’s total number of cases has reached 14.1 million, just behind the United States which leads the world with 31.4 million cases.
Thursday’s surge was the seventh record daily increase in the past eight days and comes as India battles a massive second wave of infections that has its epicenter in the economically significant state of Maharashtra, home to Mumbai. The western state accounts for about a quarter of the country’s total cases.
Due to the increase in the number of cases, there has been enormous stress on the healthcare infrastructure, with many regions reporting shortages of intensive care beds (ICUs) and oxygen cylinders in several states.
Patients could be seen being treated in makeshift arrangements in the corridors and lobbies of hospitals across India.
Hospitals and doctors in Maharashtra as well as other areas, including Gujarat and Delhi in the north, have reported chaotic scenes as health facilities were overwhelmed by an increase in admissions of COVID-19 patients.
“The situation is horrible. We are a 900 bed hospital, but there are about 60 patients waiting and we have no room for them, ”said Avinash Gawande, an official at Government Medical College and Hospital in Nagpur, a commercial center in Maharashtra. .
In Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there was a long line of ambulances where patients were being treated, as there was no space in the hospital that said they were lacked oxygen cylinders.
“If such conditions persist, the death toll will increase,” wrote the head of a medical corps in Ahmedabad in a letter to the chief minister of the state of Gujarat.
The Indian government said the country has been producing oxygen at full capacity every day for the past two days and has increased its production.
“Along with the increase in the production of oxygen manufacturing units and the excess stocks available, the current availability of oxygen is sufficient,” the health ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
Also in the capital Delhi, daily COVID-19 cases are reaching new records, with doctors warning that the outbreak could be deadlier than in 2020.
“This virus is more infectious and virulent…. We have 35-year-old patients with pneumonia in intensive care, which did not happen last year, ”said Dhiren Gupta, pediatrician at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi. “The situation is chaotic.”
According to statistics, Delhi has recorded 17,282 cases in the past 24 hours – the highest figure in a single day to date – as the city ran out of intensive care unit beds for COVID-19 patients, with only around 171 fans available Wednesday evening.
With more deaths reported in the city, there has been a huge burden on crematoriums and cemeteries in the city.
A constant stream of hearses could be seen arriving at Nigambodh Ghat, one of the city’s main crematoria, where the wait time for a cremation at the electric crematorium was five to six hours, the news channel reported. NDTV.
Local TV stations also showed the angry relatives of a patient who died after spending hours on a stretcher outside a COVID-19 hospital in the state capital of Jharkhand, Ranchi, where all the beds were occupied.
Similar scenes could be seen in the neighboring capital of Bihar, Patna.
In Mumbai, two huge patient complexes were being created as the Maharashtra government launched a series of restrictions on movement, gatherings and commercial establishments for two weeks.
As of Wednesday evening, all stores, malls and e-commerce deliveries, except essentials such as food, groceries and medicine, have been on hold until May 1.
All manufacturing units, except those destined for export and those manufacturing essential items, would also be closed. Bars and restaurants have already been closed and gatherings of more than five people are banned statewide.
India saw a downward trend in infections from the end of 2020, but the numbers started to rise again in mid-February.
Recent regional elections and festivals, including the gigantic month-long Kumbh Mela, are expected to further accelerate the rate of infection.
India’s vaccination campaign began in January with a goal of inoculating 300 million of its 1.35 billion people by July.
More than 111 million doses of the vaccine have been administered to date, of which 13 million were second doses, the health ministry said.