People across India scrambled for life-saving oxygen supplies on Friday and patients lay dying outside hospitals as the capital recorded the equivalent of one death from COVID-19 every five minutes, Reuters reported.
For the second day running, the country’s overnight infection total was higher than ever recorded anywhere in the world since the pandemic began last year, at 332,730.
India’s second wave has hit with such ferocity that hospitals are running out of oxygen, beds and anti-viral drugs. Many patients have been turned away because there was no space for them, doctors in Delhi told Reuters.
Ambulance sirens sounded throughout the day in the deserted streets of the capital, one of India’s worst hit cities, where a lockdown is in place to try and stem the transmission of the virus.
Mass cremations have been taking place as the crematoriums have run out of space.
Reuters reported that at Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in the north east of the city, critical patients gasping for air arrived in ambulances and autorickshaws. Some waited for hours on trolleys outside and one, Shayam Narayan died before being admitted, a death unlikely to be counted in the city’s rising toll.
“The system is broken,” his younger brother Raj said.
Tushar Maurya, whose mother was being treated inside, urged anyone not in a serious condition to keep away.
“The staff are doing their best but there is not enough oxygen,” she said.
The India Today television channel showed angry relatives outside a hospital in Ahmedabad, the largest city in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat.
“People are dying in front of hospitals while they wait for a bed to become available,” one man said.
Another young man, who was not identified, said: “Is this why we voted for this government? When we need it the most, we find ourselves all alone. Where will the poor go?”
Health experts say India became complacent in the winter, when new cases were running at about 10,000 a day and seemed to be under control, and lifted restrictions to allow big gatherings, Reuters reported.
Modi himself has faced rare criticism for allowing political rallies and a Hindu religious festival, in which millions take a ritual bath in the Ganges river, to go ahead. He addressed many of the rallies with packed crowds and few people wearing masks.
“Indians let down their collective guard,” Zarir Udwadia, a pulmonologist on Maharashtra’s task force, wrote in the Times of India newspaper.
“We heard self-congratulatory declarations of victory from our leaders, now cruelly exposed as mere self-assured hubris.”
Delhi’s government declared in February it had beaten back the coronavirus. On Friday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal went on live television to plead for medical oxygen supplies in a virtual meeting with Modi, warning that many people would die.
“All of the country’s oxygen plants should immediately be taken over by the government through the army,” he said.
Police in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, some wielding assault rifles, escorted trucks carrying oxygen to waiting hospitals in Delhi, while city governments traded accusations over hoarding.
Modi said the government was making a “continuous effort” to increase oxygen supplies, including steps to divert industrial oxygen.
In Washington, U.S. health officials and a White House spokeswoman on Friday said they were weighing how to help India and had been in contact with officials there, but gave no details on any possible U.S. action.
In Mumbai, a fire broke out in a suburban hospital treating COVID-19 patients early on Friday, killing 13 people. On Wednesday, 22 patients died at a public hospital in Maharashtra where Mumbai is located when oxygen supply ran out due to a leaking tank.
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was concerned about the growing case load in India, which on Thursday passed the previous global high of 297,430 recorded in January in the United States, where case numbers have fallen.
“The situation in India is a devastating reminder of what the virus can do,” he told a virtual briefing in Geneva.
WHO emergencies director Mike Ryan said reducing transmission would be a “very difficult task” but the government was working on limiting mixing between people, which he said was essential, Reuters reported.
Bhramar Mukherjee, a professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan in the United States, said it seemed as if there was no social safety net for Indians.
“Everyone is fighting for their own survival and trying to protect their loved ones,” he said. “This is hard to watch.”
Global COVID-19 cases exceed 236 million, death toll hits 4.83 million
The cumulative total number of global COVID-19 cases has exceeded 236.5 million with the death toll hitting 4.83 million as of Friday, according to the latest data compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Specifically, there had been 236,599,025 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 4,831,486 deaths as of Wednesday, the WHO’s COVID-19 dashboard showed Monday.
In addition, a total of 6.3 billion vaccine doses had been administered across the world as of Saturday, according to the WHO.
The cumulative total of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States topped 44.3 million as of Sunday, with the death toll surpassing 713,000, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
The country’s case count rose to 44,338,297 on Sunday, and its death toll came to 713,154, the CSSE tally showed.
As of early Monday morning, a total of 400,352,880 doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered across the United States, CSSE data showed.
Reuters reported that in Britain, another 34,574 people have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing its total coronavirus cases to 8,154,306, according to official figures released Sunday.
The country also recorded another 38 coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 137,735. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.
There are currently 6,763 patients in hospital in the UK with COVID-19.
Russia meanwhile confirmed 28,647 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, taking the national tally to 7,775,365, the official monitoring and response center said Sunday.
The nationwide death toll grew by 962, close to a record number of 968 a day earlier, to 216,415. Recoveries increased by 17,274 to 6,858,119.
In Asia, India’s COVID-19 tally rose to 33,971,607 on Monday, as 18,132 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours across the country, showed the federal health ministry’s latest data.
The number of new cases recorded in a day are the lowest in the past 215 days, said a statement by the federal health ministry.
Besides, as many as 193 deaths from the pandemic since Sunday morning took the total death toll to 450,782.
U.S. COVID-19 cases surpass 44.2 million, death toll tops 710,000
The cumulative total of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States topped 44.2 million as of Friday, with the death toll surpassing 712,000, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
The country’s case count rose to 44,285,030 on Friday, and its death toll came to 712,646, the CSSE tally showed.
The Alaska state in northwestern America has recently witnessed a sharp surge in COVID-19 patients and a shortage of medical resources.
The state has become one of the country’s hardest-hit places by the pandemic, as reported by some local media on Friday.
In the past two weeks, the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States has increased by more than three times, and most of the new cases did not get vaccinated.
In addition, the rural area in Alaska is more vulnerable to the pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday that COVID-19 associated multisystem inflammatory syndrome cases in children has increased by 12 percent since late August, the largest growth so far this year.
Children take part in vaccine study as Pfizer seeks FDA approval
Pfizer Inc and BioNTech have asked U.S. regulators to authorize emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, a group for whom no shot is currently allowed, Pfizer said on Thursday (October 07), Reuters reported.
A trial to test vaccine safety on children took place at Duke University School of Medicine. Two of the children who took part, were 7 year old Lydia and her sister, 5 year old Bridgette.
Both of the girls were calm as they received their vaccinations, although Bridgette instructed her father to hold her hand, read the report.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has set a date of Oct. 26 for its panel of outside advisers to meet and discuss Pfiizer’s application, making it possible for children in this age group – numbering around 28 million – to begin receiving the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine shortly afterward.
The vaccine already has won U.S. emergency use authorization in teens ages 12 to 15 and is fully approved by regulators for people ages 16 and up.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is one of three in use in the United States, along with the two-dose Moderna vaccine and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson version, neither of which has won full regulatory approval for any age group.
A rapid authorization of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in young kids could help mitigate a potential surge of cases in the coming weeks and months, with schools open nationwide and colder weather driving activities indoors. If given regulatory authorization, the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine would become the first COVID-19 shot made available to children 5 to 11 in the United States, Reuters reported.
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