“Every minute is a life-and-death situation,” said Dr. Harjit Singh Bhatti, a doctor at New Delhi hospital.
This second wave of coronavirus is hitting India hard. In the past few days, India’s COVID-19 crisis has skyrocketed from manageable levels to a death rate of one COVID-19 related patient every five minutes. On Saturday, newly reported cases reached 400,000, setting a distressing world record. But, this was not a surprise to many officials in the country. Doctors at India’s National Center for Disease Control predicted that the new variant, B.1.1.7., would be slightly less reactive to the vaccine, thus spreading throughout the large population quickly.
Crematoriums are overflowing around the country. There is a shortage of oxygen tanks to help people breathe. There are not enough immunization tools to slow the spread. According to CNN, it was possible to “[prevent] India’s devastating Covid-19 crisis;” the size of the surge in India is due to a “lack of preparedness.”
As the World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “The way forward is solidarity: solidarity at the national level, and solidarity at the global level.”
There is no possible way to make it through a pandemic alone. It just is not feasible. The U.S. received help from India during the first wave in March. China donated an estimated $12 million to the U.S. in its time of need. Russia started donating vaccines to developing countries. So why did we not treat India with the same preparedness and generosity?
This surge started all the way back in late April, yet the international community is only starting to respond. We have taken for granted the improved condition of the virus in the U.S. and have not paid attention to the surges around the world.
The fact of the matter is that this virus is not over. Even though it may seem to have calmed down, mutations are increasing, vaccines are not being equally distributed, and second waves are coming. We seem to have forgotten that there is still a raging illness ripping through our world, and it could very well come back with new variants all over again. The only way to beat this surge is for the international community to pull together.
“India was there for us, and we will be there for them,” said President Joe Biden.
According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. has airlifted tests, masks, and ventilators. Russia has donated oxygen, ventilators, drugs, and other medical supplies. Canada donated $10 million to the cause, and the South Korean Embassy vowed to “closely cooperate with India, [their] Special Strategic Partner, in its fight against COVID-19” in a public press release statement.
The situation is being helped, but there is more that needs to be done. MIT describes the international community’s help as “too little too late.” But, we need damage control to clean up the mess. There are thousands of daily deaths, which is likely an undercount. India needs oxygen along with ventilators, medications, hospital beds, COVID-19 testing supplies, personal protective equipment, and other basic medical goods. And the only way to get these is through the help of other countries.
With the help of donations from individuals, the situation in hospitals in India could also be massively improved. Spread awareness, donate, and educate yourself to be an asset. India needs as much help as it can get from the International community and that help can start with you.