Record numbers of COVID-19 cases are surging in India as the battle against the global virus continues. India is being overwhelmed with a skyrocketing number of civilian casualties. According to CNN news, on Monday, April 26th, India confirmed more than 350,000 new COVID-19 cases, driving India’s total case count over 17 million. In addition to India’s COVID-19 count being over 300,000 for multiple days in a row, the death toll is rising closer to 200,000, according to the news outlet Al Jazeera. The rise in COVID-19 cases has become so dire that hospitals and crematoriums are working at total capacity. In India’s capital, Delhi, local parks and vacant spaces are being used for local cremation due to the high mortality rates.
As many countries have overcome the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, India is battling its powerful and highly deadly second wave. The overall response to the rapid spread of this virus has been immense distress for the citizens of India. The mass population is affected by the rising infection, increasing death rates, and the measures to combat further infections. In order to aid India with the rising case count, individuals can offer assistance through organizations. Many of the following resources are being shared across multiple social media platforms globally to raise awareness of this crisis. The mass population can provide monetary donations and support India through organizations such as The Canadian Red Cross, the Cooperative for Assistance Everywhere, Give2Asia, and many more.
The response to India has been carried out on a local and international level. Many countries provide India with assistance to overcome the rapid spread and deadly effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. International governments are playing a significant role in the assistance provided to India. Like France, Ireland, Australia, and Germany, which have sent India medical equipment, the United Kingdom is providing extra ventilators and oxygen concentrator devices to help control the high speed of the spread. Joe Biden, the President of the United States, has declared the country’s support in India’s battle against the virus and a future plan to ship vaccine doses to the country. Additionally, the US is now permitting raw materials for treatment to be sent to India, allowing increased production of the AstraZeneca vaccine. In a similar fashion, Canada is en route to donate $10 million to the Indian Red Cross and supply a number of medical equipment such as ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE).
COVID-19 has affected many countries in various ways. India surpassed their first wave of the virus, and while many thought they would be in the clear, the virus rapidly spread, beginning a second wave. The World Health Organization stated the second wave was a repercussion of relaxed mass gathering restrictions, low rates of vaccination, and contagious variants. The second wave of the virus began rising during March, amplifying the effects of the spread over the past month. According to BBC news, of India’s population of 1.36 billion, 17 million people have been fully vaccinated with two doses, while 106 million have received one dose. India has set a goal to vaccinate 250 million people by the month of July. Following the rising cases, experts have stated the unlikely chance of the country being able to proceed with that anticipated goal. The recent discovery of a new COVID-19 variant plays a role in the increasing spread of the virus. B.1.617 is a variant of the virus found in India that is supposedly more transmissible than existing variants. The combination of these factors gave rise to the spread and harmful effects of COVID-19 in India.
International assistance is helping India fight the virus, though extra medical equipment such as PPE and ventilators will only be beneficial for the short-term. A long-term solution to the COVID-19 pandemic is the widespread vaccination of the country. Currently, according to BBC news, less than 2% of the country is fully vaccinated, and only less than 10% of the population have received their first dosage. Gathering regulations and social distancing measures are only capable of temporarily preventing the virus, while vaccination is vital to fight the battle against the pandemic. According to Global News, India is currently allowing anyone over the age of 18 to receive the vaccine as of May 1st. While this is a step in the right direction, the rollout of vaccines may not be sufficient for those lined up to receive the shots.
India overcame their first wave of the COVID-19 crisis, and after the government began loosening restrictions, the numbers began to rise immensely. Like other countries who have overcome their deadly waves, such as the United States and Italy, India is in the thick of its second wave. In early March, the second wave began increasing and hit India with overwhelming numbers of cases. India proceeded the same way how many other countries did, by loosening restrictions when virus cases were at a low point before the second wave. Doing so played a role in the rapid increase of cases India is experiencing. A complete lockdown effectively combats the spread of the virus, as seen through the measures Australia and China took. According to Forbes magazine, Australia now only has five new COVID-19 cases connected to citizens returning from overseas and quarantining. Australia experienced a surge of a second wave in July, leading to the governmental decision to implement a strict lockdown for approximately four months. The strict lockdown has been seen as an effective way to fight the virus and is seen as an exemplary model to many other countries worldwide. Suppose a similar tactic was implemented in India when cases began to rise in early March. In that case, India may have been able to prevent the drastic increase in COVID-19 cases, along with the variant cases.
The crisis in India is an ideal situation that no one is safe unless the virus is globally defeated. With international assistance, India can use provided medical equipment and monetary donations to battle the surge in cases. International countries, including India, must put in place strict gathering restrictions while the vaccine rollout continues. Doing so ensures that the case count will stay low while increasing rates of the mass population receive the vaccine shot.