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US aid arrives in COVID-ravaged India as vaccination centers run out of shots and thousands gasp for air

New Delhi – The first shipment of emergency medical care from the United States arrived in India on Friday as the country continued to fight explosion of coronavirus cases which has strained its health system to the limit. A U.S. military transport plane with more than 400 oxygen cylinders, nearly one million coronavirus rapid test kits and other supplies landed in Delhi on Friday morning.

But as mass vaccination centers were forced to close without any doses to stick to their hands, and people continued to die without oxygen in overcrowded hospitals, aid from the United States and other countries that began pouring in was like a sticker. for a severed leg.

“The United States is with India as we fight Covid-1

9 pandemic together, “the U.S. embassy in India said in a tweet.

The Indian Foreign Ministry thanked the United States for its contribution, which was the first step in fulfilling President Joe Biden’s promise earlier this week to support India in its “time of need …” Just as India sent aid to the United States, so as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic. “

Another day of record infections

There is no indication that the devastating second wave of coronavirus infections in India is still fading.

Over the past week, the country has reported an average of more than 350,000 new cases each day. On Friday, there was another all-time record of 386,452 new cases confirmed, bringing the total to more than 18.7 million.

The dizzying frequency of infections has overwhelmed the country’s health resources. Hospital beds, oxygen, coronavirus drugs and vaccines are in desperate shortages. Many of the 3,500 people who die of the disease each day cannot even access treatment because the hospitals are full.

An inside look at the COVID-19 Indian crisis


While the official death toll from COVID-19 in India is just over 200,000, epidemiologist Dr Ramanan Laksminarayan told CBS News’s Holly Williams on Friday that he believes the real figure could be six times that. twice the size of the United States

Workers at some crematoria in the Delhi capital and other severely affected states, including Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, are working around the clock to deal with the high death toll. The smoke from the non-stop funeral pyres suffocates Delhi’s air.

“You don’t need the numbers right now,” Laxminarayan told CBS News about the official death toll. “You just have to go out to Delhi … the smoke is thick in the air. It’s just constant.”

Lack of everything

The United States has joined dozens of other countries, including Britain, Russia, Romania, Ireland and the UAE, to begin sending medical supplies this week. But although tons of supplies are hitting the ground – and the Indian government’s repeated assurances of a sufficient medical supply of oxygen – there has been no significant improvement in shortages.

On Friday, social media platforms in India were still dominated by SOS messages – normal citizens begging for help to find hospital beds, oxygen fillers and key coronavirus drugs such as remdezivir and favipiravir.

An army of COVID Warrior has stepped up to try to connect people with the resources they need, but with the collapse of government helplines and supply chains, many volunteers are already reporting fatigue and helplessness because they simply do not can help desperate people reach out.

Patients suffering from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are treated in the emergency department of a hospital
Patients suffering from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are treated in the emergency department at Holy Family Hospital in New Delhi, India, April 29, 2021.


COVID-19 vaccines are also in short supply. The government expanded its vaccination program this week as deaths and cases increased, making all adults officially eligible. But even the registration system struggled to cope with the demand, as the online portal received 2.7 million visits per minute on Wednesday, shortly after the inoculation was open to anyone over 18.

Officials in the country’s richest country, Maharashtra – hardest hit by the second wave – said no invite 18 to 44-year-olds for vaccination until they receive another 3 million doses, although official national government policy makes all adults eligible.

On Friday, all major vaccination centers at the Mumbai Technical Center, the capital of the state of Mahrashtra, were closed for three days because they simply did not have any doses to administer.

Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Keirival, has meanwhile told people not to bother even queuing, as there are no vaccines in the capital either.

Even the truth is hard to find

However, the Indian government continues to deny that there is a deadly lack of oxygen.

“There is no shortage of medical oxygen in the country, supply [is] is increasing to alleviate COVID-19, “the federal government told the Indian Supreme Court on Friday, according to the Indian news network NDTV.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court warned the government on Friday against censorship of information and complaints posted by Indian citizens on social media about the official response to the coronavirus.

“This is a serious concern for me as a citizen or a judge. If citizens report their complaints on social media, we do not want to limit the information. Let us hear the voices of the citizens,” Judge D.Yu. Chandrachud during Friday’s hearing.

People cremate their relatives who died of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a crematorium in New Delhi
People cremated their relatives who died of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a crematorium in New Delhi, India, on April 28, 2021.


The court’s warning came a week after the Indian government asked Twitter to remove dozens of tweets criticizing the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for tackling the pandemic. Earlier this week, Facebook briefly blocked the hashtag “#ResignModi”, hiding hundreds of posts criticizing Modi’s attitude to the crisis.

“We temporarily blocked this hashtag by mistake, not because the Indian government asked us to and has since reinstated it,” Facebook later said.

“The government has not issued any instructions to remove this hashtag. Facebook has also clarified that it was removed by mistake,” the Indian government said in a statement.

Last week, the chief minister of India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, insisted there was no oxygen shortage, and ordered criminal cases against hospitals and people he said were spreading “rumors” of oxygen shortages.

But several hospitals and citizens in the state continue to report oxygen shortages, and Utar Padesh news reports suggest the problems are far more rooted in rumors.

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