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With Over 45k Deaths in 2 Weeks, is the ‘System’ in ‘Denial’?

Within two weeks, the number of deaths has gone up by 45,500, meaning 126 people died every hour.

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On 22 April 2021, the total deaths due to COVID-19 in India stood at 1,84,657, which rose to 2,30,168 by 6 May 2021. Within two weeks, the number went up by 45,500. Simply put, 126 people are dying every hour in India.

As the country faces a severe shortage of oxygen supply, leaving patients gasping and cremation sites overflowing with bodies, the high courts of India have been reprimanding the state and central governments for not acting on time.

It’s been more than two weeks since the second wave has hit the nation, but SOS messages continue to flood social media. The pressure on India's healthcare is evident. The country is just not being able to cope with the surging number of positive cases. Hospitals are short of beds, ventilators, oxygen and staff. But a bigger worry is the black marketing of medical supplies. Oxygen cylinders, concentrators and medicines are being hoarded and sold at exorbitant rates. Those who can afford these and are desperate to save their loved ones, are buying these at the quoted prices.

In a recent hearing, the Allahabad High Court observed that people dying due to shortage of oxygen is nothing less than a ‘genocide’, although the Uttar Pradesh government has said that it was ensuring the availability of oxygen in the state.

In another hearing, a Delhi High Court Bench pulled up the central government, asking why should contempt proceedings not be initiated against it for not ensuring adequate oxygen supply for the capital. "You could be blind, but not us,” the court added.

However, the Centre approached the Supreme Court regarding Delhi HC’s order of contempt and got a reprieve. The SC has directed the central government to provide Delhi with 700 MT of medical oxygen daily.

The PMCARES fund had allocated Rs 2,000 crore to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHF), for the procurement of 50,000 ‘Made in India’ ventilators, but not all reached government hospitals.

With over 4,00,000 cases reported in India on 7 May, the total tally has crossed 2 crore now. At least 1 crore infections have been recorded in 2021 so far.

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Under such circumstances, can we not hold the government responsible or is the Centre in denial? If the situation prevails, people will eventually ask – Janab, Aise Kaise?

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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