With low levels of oxygen beds, India is adding 314K virus cases worldwide

NEW DELHI (AP) – India reported a global record of more than 314,000 new infections on Thursday, as a severe increase in coronavirus in the world’s second-largest country sends more and more sick people into a fragile system health care, which is extremely deprived of hospital beds and oxygen.

The 314,835 infections added in the last 24 hours increase India’s total number of the last 15.9 million cases since the pandemic began. It is the second largest total in the world near the United States. India has almost 1.4 billion people.

Deaths have risen by 2,104 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths in India to 184,657, the Ministry of Health said.

A large number of hospitals report an acute shortage of beds and medicines and operate with dangerous levels of oxygen.

The New Delhi High Court on Wednesday ordered the government to redirect industrial oxygen to hospitals to save lives. “You can’t make people die because there is no oxygen. We are asking, borrowing or stealing, it is a national emergency “, the judges said, responding to a petition from a hospital in New Delhi requesting its intervention.

The government is rushing with the oil tankers to complete the supply with the hospitals.

Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday that “demand and supply are monitored non-stop”. He said in a tweet that in order to address the exponential growth in demand, the government has increased the oxygen quota for the seven most affected states.

Strict blockades and curbs have brought pain, fear and agony to many lives in New Delhi and other cities.

In scenes known throughout the country, ambulances are seen rushing from one hospital to another, trying to find an empty bed. The grieving relatives line up outside the crematoria, where the arrival of the corpses jumped several times.

“Every day I receive numerous calls from patients desperate for a bed. Demand is far too high for supply, ”said Dr. Sanjay Gururaj, a doctor at the Shanti Hospital and Research Center in Bengaluru.

“I try to find beds for patients every day and it was incredibly frustrating not being able to help them. In the last week, three of my patients died at home because they could not take their beds. As a doctor, it’s a terrible feeling, “said Gururaj.

Yogesh Dixit, a resident of northern Uttar Pradesh state, said earlier this week that he had to buy two bottles of oxygen at 12,000 rupees ($ 160) each, more than double the normal cost, for his sick father, as the hospital Lucknow state had run out of supplies.

He bought two “because doctors can ask for another bottle of oxygen at any time,” he said, adding that he had to sell his wife’s jewelry to cover the cost.

The main cremation site in Lucknow, the state capital, received nearly 200 bodies on Sunday. Shekhar Chakraborty, 68, described the scene: “Bodies were everywhere, cremated on sidewalks for walking. I have never had such a corpse flow in my life, “he said.

In Kanpur, another city in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 35 new temporary platforms have been set up along the Bithoor-Sidhnath Ghat along the Ganges River to cremate bodies.

The Ministry of Health said that of the country’s total production of 7,500 metric tons (8,300 US tons) of oxygen per day, 6,600 metric tons (7,275 US tons) were allocated for medical use.

He also said that 75 railway cars in the Indian capital have been turned into hospitals, providing another 1,200 beds for patients with COVID-19.

The Times of India reports that the highest daily number of previous cases of 307,581 was reported in the US on January 8.


Associated Press writers Krutika Pathi of New Delhi and Biswajeet Banerjee of Lucknow, India, contributed to the report.