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India: Half a million Covid-19 cases per day predicted as hospitals run out of oxygen

gasping to breath this is the front line of india’s battle against kovid there are 1600 beds at this hospital but still nowhere near enough to meet the rising demand i have never seen so many people dying in front of our hospital doctors are confronting insurmountable odds for those like ravikant singh the fight against kovid is also putting his own life at risk so dr rajet is positive his mother is positive his daughter is positive my mother is also positive so we have to fight battle at the family level also oxygen is hard to find but patients keep coming so we’re outside pentamete hospital one of the

dozens of smaller hospitals in new delhi now they’ve completely run out of oxygen uh for today uh in fact the most critical patients have been asked to leave now this hospital like so many others in new delhi is not functioning on a day-to-day basis but on an r to our basis so acute is the oxygen crisis in this city that people are willing to pay almost anything in order to have some oxygen for their loved ones some driving hundreds of miles across india to get it shivam chaudhary supplies oxygen to about 30 hospitals in east delhi his phone hasn’t stopped ringing i am receiving around 5000 calls

per day they are all lowering me with the money that uh please give me the cylinders and we are ready to give you n number of money they are ready to give me the key of the vehicle but still i am a thriving black market has sprung up on and offline for oxygen with people willing to pay as much as 192 pounds for a cylinder that ordinarily costs about six pounds as we film more and more people arrive begging for help for sick relatives some dare to voice their concerns about the lack of government health today a high court judge gave his damning verdict officials who allowed rallies like this for west bengal’s regional elections should be booked for murder and having dismissed scientific concerns of a rising tide of cases apparent contrition from mr moody this is what mr modi is relying on vaccines but they are in short supply india’s serum institute is one of a number of global leaders in vaccine production in the country yet just 10 percent of over 45s have been vaccinated that hasn’t stopped the government promising to expand the vaccination drive to now give the jab to anyone over 18. but it’s a move that comes too late for many thousands of people whose deaths have yet to be counted well the actual number of covid19 deaths in india is under dispute there are fears that cases are being under counted as infections surged through the country the latest official figures show around 17 million coronavirus cases have been recorded so far and for the fifth day in a row the indian government has reported

more than three hundred thousand infections a world record but experts are predicting covid cases could reach at least half a million a day in the coming weeks according to the official total 195 123 people have died with covid19 in india but experts fear the real figures are much higher well to discuss those figures and the emergency i spoke earlier to one of india’s leading virologists professor shaheed jamil and i started by asking him about the rates of infection they’re dealing with at the moment well the numbers that we are getting are roughly 350000 cases per day it’s possible that the actual numbers are higher but i have no reason to believe what those numbers might be uh even even at this number i think we are completely overwhelmed right now uh the hospital capacity is full uh and you know there are all kinds of shortages of oxygen medicines hospital beds we are really dealing with a very very strong surge at this time and do you think we are anywhere near the peak so in india yes the numbers are predicted to increase for the next

two three weeks till it reaches a peak and then the numbers will come down what sort of number of infections will there be by the time it peaks the numbers of infections at peak are predicted to be somewhere around 500 000 to 900 000 per day and when you talk about the number of cases do you have any sense of what proportion of those end up dying well if you look at the official figures that are dying the the formal death rate right now is roughly 2500 deaths per day which i think is severe under counting not because of some design to do so but simply because the way uh covet deaths are measured but the rate at which this outbreak is is expanding is quite phenomenal it’s growing at the rate of roughly seven percent every day you’re a virologist what can you do do you think to stem this disaster well what i can do is tell people not to worry about this mutant or that mutant this variant or that variant every single variant is stopped by a good mask so masking has to be done hundred percent there are there is no compromise with that and if we mask up we are going to break this chain of transmission but we know that people are massing together for religious festivals we know that people are meeting in huge groups and
the rest of it that behavior in india is not fundamentally changing this is where the government should really step in and shut down these events that’s the only way i mean having a lockdown in cities like delhi or bangalore or mumbai will help but you know these events the election campaigning the election rallies and the festivals need to stop otherwise we are taking the virus to all parts of the country are you more anxious now than at any time in your career absolutely absolutely no doubt about it what is the main reason for your anxiety in the last one week at least 10 people that i knew closely have died and they’ve all died of covet so i’ve not seen anything like this happen ever in my life professor jamil thank you very much indeed for talking to us i’m sorry for your loss thank you very much

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