India is breaking its own and world records for the fifth day in a row for the daily increase in new cases of coronavirus infection. Yesterday almost 353 thousand people fell ill there, 2.8 thousand died.
Such horrifying figures have not been observed in any other state since the beginning of the pandemic to this day.
Medical facilities in India cannot cope with the colossal workload, which is why people die on carts in queues under the hospitals. Corpses are burned right on the streets in funeral pyres, because the crematoria were not ready for such a development of events too.
How and why a misfortune of such a huge scale came to India?
Coronavirus collapse in India. Detailed analysis of the situation
Considering more than 353 thousand cases over the past day, the total number of infected in India since the beginning of the pandemic has exceeded 17.3 million. More than a million cases of Covid-19 have been recorded over the past three days.
The largest increase is observed in the states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, in the national capital district of Delhi, which includes the capital - New Delhi, as well as in the states of Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and others.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in India, 195 thousand people have become victims of the coronavirus, about 2.8 thousand deaths were recorded yesterday. At the same time, local residents say that in fact there are much more deaths.
Media, including the respected American newspaper The New York Times and the popular British Daily Mail, also write that the authorities are underestimating the numbers.
"We believe the true death toll is two to five times higher," Bhramar Mukherjee, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan who monitors the situation in India, was quoted as saying by The New York Times.
Hospitals are overcrowded
In medical institutions, there are not enough free beds or working hands. A convoy of ambulances is constantly observed under the hospitals.
People die right on carts without waiting for their turn.
The situation is aggravated by the lack of medical oxygen. The government claims that they have oxygen, but the problem is its transportation.
"We have oxygen in factories far from where we need it now. Transporting oxygen is a challenge. We have increased production as oxygen consumption is skyrocketing. But we have limitations, and the biggest challenge now is getting it where necessary, "the Associated Press quoted Saket Tiku, president of the All India Industrial Gas Producers Association.
On Monday, April 26, it was decided to involve retired military doctors in the fight against Covid-19. In addition, oxygen from the reserves of the armed forces will be sent to hospitals, reports Reuters.
Crematoria cannot withstand the load
Crematoria officials say they cannot remember when so many people died in such a short period of time. Workers complain of exhaustion.
Even ovens fail. The Daily Mail writes that in the cities of Gujarat, crematoria operate around the clock, receiving three to four times more bodies than usual.
Due to heavy loads in one of the electric furnaces in the city of Ahmedabad, a chimney cracked and collapsed. One of the workers admitted to reporters that he had never seen such an "endless conveyor of death."
In Surat, the inner iron frames melted in the crematorium, because they did not have time to cool down.
In two electric furnaces in the city of Lackhnow, with almost 3 million inhabitants, the relatives of the deceased are given tokens with numbers and made to wait in line for up to 12 hours. Employees of another crematorium here began incinerating the bodies of Covid-19 victims in a nearby park. This is also practiced in the state of Uttar Pradesh, or, for example, in the Indian capital.
Therefore, the sky in many cities in India is illuminated 24 hours a day with horror orange lights. Cremation is an important part of Hindu burial rituals and is viewed by believers as a way to free the soul from the body.
Alleged causes of the disaster
No one can say with complete certainty what exactly became the point of no return. Therefore, we will analyze several versions that appear in the media.
General relaxation against the background of vaccination
At the beginning of this year, Indians stopped taking precautions. Several factors influenced this at once.
First, a decrease in the daily increase in new cases of Covid-19, which looked like the pandemic was over, although in fact it was the fruit of a strict quarantine.
Second, India launched the world's largest immunization campaign in January. According to The Guardian, authorities mistakenly believed that one vaccination would be enough to contain the virus.
The general relaxation was also helped by the realization that India is the world's leading vaccine producer. Actually, it is unlikely to be left without an anti-coronavirus drug.
However, in March it became obvious that the country cannot adequately meet domestic demand due to large export volumes. India had to abandon the supply of the vaccine abroad, which, in turn, put other countries in a difficult position, including Ukraine, which was counting on new shipments of the drug CoviShield.
Mass ablution in the Ganges
In the week before the strong jump in the incidence of diseases, hundreds of thousands of Indians took a bath in the Ganges River, the waters of which they consider sacred.
In the city of Haridwar, they counted nearly a million Hindus who came to “wash away their sins,” reports Reuters. Law enforcers have asked people to maintain social distance, but to no avail. The mask mode was also practically not followed.
Despite the abnormal increase in the incidence, the authorities do not plan to postpone local elections.
Moreover, in India at this moment there is no ban on numerous pre-election rallies.
For example, in the state of West Bengal, the minister of the country, Narendra Modi, took part in them. The same one who on April 25 admitted that the country was covered by a "coronavirus storm".
The spike in the incidence in India happened at least in part due to a new strain of coronavirus known as the "double mutant". Its official name is B.1.617.
The government of India announced the identification of this mutation at the end of March. The first cases in India date back to October 2020. In February 2021, this variant of Covid-19 was "seen" in the UK, and in early April in the United States.
B.1.617 contains mutations that were previously recorded in two other hard-to-control versions of the coronavirus - California and South African. Experts from the Ministry of Health of England are confident that this mutation has all the signs of a very dangerous virus.