India reported another tragic daily record of over 400,000 Covid-19 new cases and nearly 4,000 deaths on Thursday as the country’s government pushed back against reports and allegations that it has been slow in distributing medical supplies and equipment arriving from abroad.
The country reported 412,262 new Covid-19 cases and 3,980 deaths on Thursday—both all-time highs for the country—pushing India’s official case count past 21 million.
The tally includes 11 Covid-19 patients who died on Wednesday night at a hospital in Chengalpet town in southern India after pressure in the oxygen line dropped suddenly likely due to a faulty valve, according to a Times of India report.
While India is producing adequate oxygen to meet current demands, most of it is being produced far away from hospitals and supply is severely constrained by the lack of adequate cryogenic tankers, which are needed to transport medical grade oxygen.
While several countries have sent medical supplies to India which includes oxygen cylinders and tankers, opposition parties and the local media have questioned the federal government’s lack of transparency in distributing these supplies to the states.
The federal government, however, has defended its conduct and insisted that it has put a “streamlined and systematic mechanism” in place to deliver the foreign aid.
Despite this, however, some states and hospitals in the country have complained that they have received a portion of the foreign aid, while others are yet to receive anything, The Print reported.
230,168. That’s the total number of Covid-19 deaths India has officially reported so far, making it the third worst-hit country in terms of fatalities behind the U.S. and Brazil. However, medical experts and local media reports suggest the tally might actually be a severe undercount due to a lack of adequate testing and pressure from local governments to underreport numbers.
India reported its second consecutive day of a rise in new Covid-19 cases on Thursday after a slight lull during the weekend. Thursday’s tally is the second time the country has reported more than 400,000 new cases and it has put a pause on talks of the second wave peaking sometime this week. According to Reuters, the pandemic is now moving into India’s rural areas, where about 70% of the country’s 1.3 billion people live. Experts have raised alarm that the pandemic could cause even more devastation in rural India due to its limited public health infrastructure. People residing in smaller towns and villages have begun reporting harrowing tales of oxygen shortages that are happening outside the glare of the national media which is largely based in Delhi—the pandemic’s current epicenter in India.
As the pandemic continues to ravage India, several countries and private entities around the world have stepped up to provide support to India. Last week the White House announced it will send supplies worth more than $100 million to India including oxygen cylinders, PPE kits, Covid-19 tests and vaccine raw materials. The U.K., France, Germany, Russia, Singapore, Australia and several other nations have also stepped up to help India, by sending over essential medical equipment, essential drugs and oxygen supplies.
What To Watch For
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has projected that the pandemic will likely get worse in India over the next few months, with the country’s Covid-19 death toll likely crossing 1 million by the end of June.
India’s Official Covid-19 Death Toll Crosses 200,000 Even As Experts Warn Of Massive Undercounting (Forbes)
India hits another grim record as it scrambles oxygen supply (Associated Press)
Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus