India’s Second Wave of Covid-19

While the US Covid-19 situation has gotten juristically better, with millions of vaccine doses being given out each day, that is not the case for India. According to Johns Hopkins University, India is the first to report more than 400,000 COVID-19 cases in one day. Less than 2% of the country is fully vaccinated, and people die at a horrific rate.

The new variant

Like many places, India has been facing a new variant of the COVID-19 virus identified in the United Kingdom and is highly infectious. USA Today stated, “The new covid variant in India is called B.1.617, and it’s distinguished by having not one but two mutations on the virus spike. Scientists are still studying how that so-called double mutant might differ in terms of transmissibility and response to vaccination.”

The oxygen crisis

To put into perspective how alarming the lack of oxygen for COVID patients is in India right now, here is a quote from BBC, “Dr. Gautam Singh, who runs the Shri Ram Singh hospital, says he has 50 Covid beds and space for 16 ICU patients but has had to refuse admissions as there is no guarantee of oxygen supply.” The hospitals do not have nearly enough space to care for these patients regardless of the oxygen. 

Leadership Problems

The origin and causation of the lack of preparedness in terms of the pandemic have to do with India’s government and its weak healthcare system. Hospitals are mostly located in cities, which does nothing for suburban and rural areas. Along with healthcare in general in urban or rural areas, it is fragile and difficult to access. The lack of critical healthcare accessibility in government health facilities around the country makes them unable to provide even primary care, let alone a crisis like Covid. India also lacks trained health care professionals. This by itself is highly problematic and dangerous but add in a deadly pandemic, and it becomes something none of us could ever imagine. Altogether, India’s health care system is not beneficial to the vast majority of the countries’ citizens, who have been living with this issue for a long time, and now they are suffering through a pandemic worse than many countries due to the government’s inability to strengthen its healthcare system.

Last and Least

Vaccinations are essential for everybody to have. Moreover, in times like these, getting vaccinated is the best thing anyone can do. You see millions of doses being given out every day in the US, but that is not nearly the case in most countries, including India. With any emergency vaccine or any vaccine really, wealthier countries get the most doses from the companies that made them – this is when there is strong leadership to provide solid plans for the goals they wish to achieve. Some rules and regulations prevent the companies from only supplying the countries that can pay the most for the vaccines, but that does not stop the uneven distribution. We are all in different states of emergency, but countries like India require survival mode, and they need access to more doses and better healthcare.

Ignorance is Bliss

Throughout the pandemic, we have all witnessed the millions of people refusing to wear masks, refusing vaccination, and complaining every step of the way. However, as awful as this has been for all of us here, losing loved ones and losing precious time does not compare to India’s situation. Running out of medical oxygen, lack of vaccine distribution, and horrible conditions in general, we should be looking at how privileged we are to have access to vaccines or oxygen. 

What Can We Do to Help?

Donations to India’s Red Cross, United Nations agencies, and The International Medical Corps are excellent resources to donate to help people in India. Along with sharing information of the crisis on social media, at school or work, anywhere that even a few people will listen. We need to continue wearing masks and following COVID guidelines, so you are not taking what we have for granted.