The Lamentation of Families of Patients Outside the ICU Breaks the Silence

Hospitals in India are in crisis due to a surge in new Covid-19 cases. © REUTERS / Danish Siddiqui – In early March, Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan announced the country was “in the final rounds” of the Covid-19 pandemic. The minister also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership as “an example to the world in the field of international cooperation”. From January onwards, India began sending vaccine doses to various countries as part of “vaccine diplomacy”.

Vardhan’s high optimism is based on the drastic reduction in cases of corona virus infection. Since the peak of cases which reached an average of more than 93,000 per day in mid-September, infections have steadily fallen.

In mid-February, India counted an average of 11,000 cases per day. Over the course of seven days the average daily Covid-19 death rate fell below 100.

The euphoria of the success against the virus has been raised since late last year. Politicians, policymakers and some media believe India has managed to get out of this battle.

In December, central bank officials announced India was lowering its infection rate curve. They said there was evidence. With a poetic explanation, they say the economy “comes out in the middle of a winter shadow extending toward somewhere in the sunshine”. Modi is called the “vaccine guru”.

In late February, India’s KPU announced key elections in five states in which 186 million people will vote for 824 seats. Starting March 27, voting will last more than a month, and for the state of West Bengal specifically, will be held in eight stages.

Campaigns take place regardless of health and social distancing protocols. In mid-March, the cricket governing body allowed more than 130,000 fans, mostly without wearing masks, to watch two international cricket matches between India and England at Narendra Modi Stadium in Gujarat.

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In less than a month, India is in the grip of a deadly second wave and cities have reintroduced closures or lockdowns. In mid-April, the country recorded an average of 100,000 Covid-19 cases per day.

On Sunday (18/4), India recorded more than 270,000 cases and more than 1,600 deaths, both cases recorded in a day.

If the bedrock of infection is not checked, India could record more than 2,300 deaths daily through the first week of June, according to a report by The Lancet’s Covid-19 Commission.

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