India’s underfunded health system is on the brink of collapse as the world’s worst coronavirus surge wears out the nation. This week the number of recorded cases passed 300,000 a day, along with more than 2,000 deaths – which is close to twice the daily deaths India experienced during the first peak of the virus between July and September 2020.
Hospitals in Delhi have now issued SOS alerts on Friday, saying they had only a few hours’ supply of oxygen left and pleading for government help, while social media was flooded with requests for oxygen cylinders, shared by people seeking urgent care for their relatives.
India, the world’s second most populous nation, has confirmed 16 million cases so far, second only to the US. The country’s real death toll from the virus is thought to be significantly higher than official figures, amid reports of some state governments fudging data, and crematorium equipment in some states melting due to the constant heat of fires burning day and night.