A world-record surge in COVID-19 cases is ravaging India and leading to severe shortages of hospital beds and life-saving oxygen. Now, emergency medical aid from nations across the globe is heading to the world’s second-most populous country.
India’s crisis is dire. Patients are suffocating in Indian hospitals and even dying in the streets. The unprecedented crush of bodies has even forced mass cremations. An official in Bhopal said, “The virus is swallowing our people like a monster.”
India reported 352,991 new cases Monday. That broke the world record for the most cases ever for the fifth straight day, driven by the spread of a newer, more contagious variant. The country also saw 2,812 die from the virus. India’s COVID cases have now exceeded 17 million, second only to the US.
The US, the United Kingdom, Germany, Turkey, and Pakistan have pledged to provide critical supplies, including ventilators and oxygen to help control the raging pandemic. The World Health Organization is providing emergency equipment and mobile field hospitals. The White House also pledged to share as many as 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with other countries, including India.
Efforts to control the surge are not merely altruistic. Unvaccinated people allow the virus to keep spreading and mutating. That could prevent the world from reaching herd immunity. It could also enable COVID to infect even those who are vaccinated.