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SOS reports panic as virus disrupts India’s healthcare system

NEW DELHI (AP) – Dr. Gutham Singh is scared of air conditioners every day, saying oxygen levels are too low to hear his critically ill patients begin to suffocate in the New Delhi emergency hospital where he works.

Like other doctors in the country who set another record of more than 350,000 new coronavirus infections on Monday for the fifth day in a row, the cardiologist has moved to begging for oxygen cylinders to keep one of his most critical patients alive. more days.

On Sunday evening, when oxygen supplies to other nearby hospitals were also empty, the desperate 43-year-old took to social media to post a passionate video on Twitter.

“Please send us oxygen,” he said in a choked, folded voice. “My patients are dying.”

India was originally seen as a success story in the face of the epidemic, but the virus is now passing through its large population of 1.4 billion, and systems are beginning to crumble.

SOS messages, as sent by Singh, reveal the extent of panic in a country where infections are reaching new heights every day.

In addition to consuming oxygen resources, the intensive care unit operates at full capacity; almost all ventilators are used. As the death toll rises, the night sky in some Indian cities shines with burial mounds as crematoria are overcrowded and bodies are burned outside in the open air.

The country reported 2,812 deaths on Monday, with about 117 Indians contracted the disease every hour, with experts saying that even those figures were “underestimated”. As a result of the new infections, the total number of India has reached more than 17.3 million, which is behind only the United States.

Doctors like Singh are at the forefront of trying to get the supplies they need to keep their patients alive.

Singh received 20 oxygen cylinders on Monday, just so much that the hospital was lame all day until the fans started sending their warning signals again.

“I feel helpless because my patients survive hour by hour,” Singh said in a telephone interview. “I beg again, I hope someone will send oxygen to protect my patients for another day.”

No matter how bad the situation is, experts warn that it will most likely get worse.

Krishna Udayakumar, Founding Director of Duke Global Health Innovation Center at Duke University, said it would be impossible for the country to meet its needs in the coming days.

“The situation in India is tragic, it is likely to worsen in a few weeks to months,” he said, adding that a “coordinated, global effort” to help India in the current crisis was needed.

The White House said the United States was “working around the clock” to deploy test kits, air conditioners and personal protective equipment, and would try to provide oxygen supplies. It says it will also make available the raw materials that are urgently needed to produce the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, developed by the Indian Serum Institute Covishield.

“Just as India was sending aid to the United States because our hospitals were strained at the beginning of the epidemic, we are determined to provide for India in a time of need,” President Biden tweeted.

Assistance և assistance has been provided by the archive Pakistan, which says it can provide assistance including air conditioners, oxygen supply kits, digital X-ray equipment, security equipment and related items.

The German Ministry of Health has announced that it is “urgently working to collect an aid package for India” consisting of air conditioners, monoclonal antibodies, Remdesivir drugs, as well as surgical “N95 protective masks”.

Criticized for its lack of preparation for the wave of infections, the federal government has asked manufacturers to increase production of oxygen-saving drugs.

But many say it’s too late. The split is a sharp failure for a country that boasted of being an example to other developing countries.

Just three months ago, the country’s leaders were shouting that something had gone worse.

In January, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared victory over the coronavirus, telling a virtual gathering of the World Economic Forum that India’s success could not be compared.

Less than a month later, his Bharatya Ata Anata party made a decision calling Modi a “far-sighted leader” who had already “defeated” the virus.

In the second week of March, the Indian Minister of Health announced that the country was in the “final game” of the epidemic.

At the same time, patients arriving in Indian hospitals were much sicker and younger than they had previously been, which alerted healthcare professionals to the fact that India was sitting on a clock bomb that was either overlooked or ignored.

Millions of Hindu devotees celebrated the Holi festival across the country in late March, preceding social exclusion guides and masks. Politicians, including Modi, led mammoth election rallies, which were attended by tens of thousands of people without masks. And millions more gathered last week for special Hindu prayers on the banks of the Ganges.

It is now suspected that all these events could have accelerated the unprecedented wave that India is now seeing.

“Many people across India are paying with their lives for this disgraceful behavior of political leaders,” Udayakumar said.

During a radio broadcast on Sunday, Modi tried to divert criticism by saying that a “storm” of infections had “shaken” the country.

“True, it is true that many people become infected with coronary artery disease,” he said. “But the number of people recovering from the crown is equally high.”

The Indian government announced last week that it would expand its vaccination program to make all adults eligible, which has long been urged by health professionals.

But vaccines take time to show their impact on the number of new infections, and there are questions as to whether manufacturers will be able to keep up with demand. Vaccination rates around the country also appear to be slowing.

At the same time, ordinary citizens are taking matters into their own hands, doing what they say the government should have done a long time ago.

Volunteers, from students to tech professionals, non-profit organizations to journalists, gather to spread the word about hospital beds, essential medicines, and oxygen cylinders.

Like Dr. Singh, many have turned to social media, particularly Twitter, for lists of plasma donors and stockpiles of oxygen cylinders.

The system is imperfect, but some get much-needed help.

New Delhi housewife Rashmi Kumar spent Sunday tweeting desperate requests for an oxygen cylinder for her seriously ill father.

At the same time, he is making countless calls to hospitals and government helplines in vain.

In the evening, his 63-year-old father was breathing.

“I was ready for the worst,” Kumar said.

But nowhere, one of his Twitter users reported that there was an oxygen cylinder about 60 kilometers (37 miles) away. Kumar drove to the man’s house, where a man handed him an oxygen cylinder.

“I was helped by a stranger as my own government continued to fail thousands of people like me,” he said. “Unfortunately, now everyone is independent.”

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