Covid-19 in India


Rebecca Conway / The New Yorker

New Delhi Hospitals overrun with Patients.

Max Gardiner, Staff Writer

It has been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic first arrived in America, and we have experienced a lot of ups and downs since then. We have lost thousands of lives from the Coronavirus, but we are not the only country. In Italy, over four million people tested positive, and in Brazil a massive 15 million cases, but India has shattered the record for most positive Covid tests, with 21 million cases and climbing.

There could be many reasons for this massive spike in cases. Many people place the blame on Indian president Ram Nath Kovind because he has relaxed COVID-19 restrictions and allowed large gatherings to take place, which most likely contributed to the spike.

However, another factor is likely the new mutant strain of Covid known as B.1.1.7 that was originally discovered in the U.K. and has a much higher infection rate. This paired with the lax restrictions and large gatherings of hundreds of people are probably the cause of the soaring infection rates in India.

But many fail to realize the sheer scale of the issue. The numbers began to spike in early April, and since then they have only gotten higher. There are hundreds of deaths each week, with Indian hospitals rapidly running out of oxygen, staff and rooms.

Crematoriums are flooded with bodies, and makeshift funeral pyres are being built to burn the bodies of the deceased. The situation is grim, but other countries are sending help. The Biden administration and Europe have sent over much needed supplies like PPE (personal protective equipment), oxygen, ventilators, vaccines and clean syringes in the hopes that the cases will decline, and so far the percentage has made a small decrease from the massive spike it experienced in late March.

However, cases are still at a huge number and the danger is very real. Experts estimate that millions of Indian citizens are being infected each day, with hundreds dying daily as well. “Our case detection rate is around 3.6%,” says Dr. Hemant D. Shewade, a doctor specializing in community medicine. “I can safely say that our estimated Covid deaths are five times the reported figure.”

Hopefully, the situation will ease and cases will fall, but for now the future remains uncertain for a majority of India’s citizens.