By now you have probably seen in the news that India is currently suffering from a second wave of Covid-19, with the number of cases in the country seeing a huge rise in cases.
What caused the second wave?
This second wave of Coronavirus in India has become the worst COVID-19 surge in the world and has left the country with a shortage of hospital beds, oxygen and no medicines. The second wave came shortly after the country’s health minister declared India was in the endgame of the pandemic. However, by mid-April India had an average of more than 100,000 cases a day. It is estimated that by June, India may be reporting close to 2,300 deaths each day.
What is being done?
The director of a US-based Health Institute has estimated that only 3-4% of Coronavirus cases in India are being detected, and even now we are more aware of the crisis ongoing in India, there could still be 60-70% more deaths in the country than what is being reported.
The Indian government spring into action in late April and began increasing hospital beds and stocking up on oxygen. They are also worried that there is a variant more transmissible which could explain the significant rise in cases.
What is the death toll?
As of May 9th, there have been over 22 million cases of Coronavirus in India, with hundreds of thousands more being found each day. The country has also had to face over 242,000 deaths. It has also been said that only 34% of deaths are taking place in hospitals, which makes the deaths harder to track. At the moment India has the second highest number of Covid-19 related deaths, following the USA with almost 600,000 deaths.
What about vaccinations?
India is the worlds biggest producer of Coronavirus vaccines and has rolled out 160 million vaccinations internally, most of which were the Astra Zeneca vaccine. However, only 30 million people have received two doses of the vaccine, which is just over 2%. It is estimated that India would need 200 – 250 million doses of the vaccine each month for them to vaccinate everyone.
Dr Chandrakant Lahariya, a vaccines, public policy and health systems expert in New Delhi, told the CNBC: “Even if the projected supply was available, India has opened the vaccination to a far bigger population than probably any setting can expect the vaccines (to cover).
“It is essentially an outcome of limited supply and a vaccination policy which is not mindful of supplies. No amount of advanced planning could have assured that sort of supply, which is needed now with the opening of vaccination for 940 million people in India.”
What about other countries?
The severity of the pandemic in India is a warning to other countries, especially Pakistan and Nepal, which border India. As Nepal has a 1168 mile long border with India, it is no surprise that they have brought in additional health checks at border crossing points. Since the second wave in India, Pakistan has also seen a clear rise in cases. Pakistan has also said it would provide relief support to India despite the hostile history between the two countries; relief will include ventilators and PPE.
How can we help?
In response to the Coronavirus crisis in India, organisations across the world are trying their best to offer support, mainly through gathering donations. This includes Oxfam, Save the Children, and Care International.