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COVID-19 Spreads To Rural India, Villages Ill-Equipped To Fight It

While the capital New Delhi and several other cities have been hardest hit by COVID-19 so far, limited public healthcare, including a dearth of testing facilities, means the threat is grave in rural areas that are home to nearly 70 per cent of the total population

COVID-19 Spreads To Rural India, Villages Ill-Equipped To Fight It
Highlights
  • Surge in cases has overwhelmed the healthcare system
  • Hospitals around the country are running out of beds, medical oxygen
  • The country is struggling to produce enough vaccine doses

New Delhi: Hopes that India’s rampaging second wave of COVID-19 is peaking were set back on Thursday (May 6) as record daily infections and deaths were reported and as the virus spread from cities to villages that were poorly equipped to cope. Government modelling had forecast a peak by Wednesday in infections that have overwhelmed the healthcare system, with hospitals running out of beds and medical oxygen.

Also Read: Four-Digit Security Code In Cowin From May 8 To Minimise Data Entry Error About Vaccination Status

A record 412,262 new cases and 3,980 deaths were reported over the past 24 hours, taking total infections past 21 million and the overall death toll to 230,168, Health Ministry data showed.

“This temporarily halts speculations of a peak,” Rijo M John, a professor at the Indian Institute of Management in the southern state of Kerala, said on Twitter.

While the capital New Delhi and several other cities have been hardest hit so far, limited public healthcare, including a dearth of testing facilities, means the threat is grave in rural areas that are home to nearly 70 per cent of the 1.3 billion population.

In the town of Susner in Madhya Pradesh state, patients were being treated outdoors under trees, on blankets on the ground.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government welcomed U.S. President Joe Biden’s announcement that he would support waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Such a waiver would make vaccines more widely available, although it could take months for the World Trade Organization to hammer out any deal.

While India is the world’s biggest vaccine maker, it is struggling to produce enough doses. Its two current vaccine producers will take two months or more to boost monthly output to more than 110 million doses from 70 million-80 million.

Also Read: COVID-19 Vaccine Linked With Fewer Asymptomatic Infections: Study

At a meeting with his top officials on Thursday, PM Modi stressed that Indian states must keep up vaccination rates and that healthcare workers involved in the inoculation campaign must not be diverted to other tasks, the government said.

Although the country has administered at least 157 million vaccine doses, its rate of inoculation has fallen sharply in recent days.

No National Lockdown

Pm Modi has been widely criticized for not acting sooner to suppress the second wave, after religious festivals and political rallies drew tens of thousands of people in recent weeks and became “super spreader” events.

Several Indian states have imposed various levels of social restrictions to try to stem infections, but the federal government has resisted imposing a national lockdown.

The southern state of Kerala announced on Thursday it will impose nine days of curbs on movement from Saturday.

In the office of a Hindu crematorium in Delhi, the floor and shelves were overflowing with earthen pots, plastic packets and steel containers filled with the ashes of people who have died from COVID-19.

Practising Hindus collect the ashes of the dead a few days after the funeral for immersion in a river or sea, one of the rituals that they believe lead to salvation of the soul.

Our lockers are full. We cannot store any more ashes. We used to get around 40 COVID-19 bodies a day. We are now telling relatives to take the ashes with them on the same day, Pankaj Sharma, a manager at the crematorium, told Reuters.

With Delhi running short of ambulances, authorities have teamed up with a non-profit organisation to turn some of the city’s ubiquitous three-wheeled autorickshaws into makeshift ambulances for COVID-19 patients.

The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday the jump in cases posed downside risks to the Fund’s April forecast for 12.5 per cent growth in India’s economic output in fiscal years 2021 and 2022.

The IMF will revisit that forecast when it issues a fresh World Economic Outlook in July, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters at a regular briefing. He gave no further details.

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar acknowledged the healthcare system “stands exposed” after 75 years of under-funding by successive governments since independence from Britain.

It’s very easy to say today that we should have put in more money. Now that I am in government…, I can say it is not as easy as it sounds, Mr. Jaishankar said on Wednesday.

Also Read: COVID-19 Not Just Lung Disease, Can Also Cause Dangerous Blood Clots: Experts

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

24,33,49,378Cases
20,48,57,171Active
3,35,48,605Recovered
49,43,602Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,33,49,378 and 49,43,602 have died; 20,48,57,171 are active cases and 3,35,48,605 have recovered as on October 24, 2021 at 3:48 am.

India

3,41,75,468 15,906Cases
1,72,5941,134Active
3,35,48,605 16,479Recovered
4,54,269 561Deaths
In India, there are 3,41,75,468 confirmed cases including 4,54,269 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,72,594 and 3,35,48,605 have recovered as on October 24, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,01,551 1,701

27,634 113

64,33,919 1,781

1,39,998 33

Kerala

49,06,793 8,909

81,155 335

47,97,409 8,780

28,229 464

Karnataka

29,85,598 371

8,943 23

29,38,653 341

38,002 7

Tamil Nadu

26,94,089 1,140

13,280 251

26,44,805 1,374

36,004 17

Andhra Pradesh

20,63,177 396

5,222 176

20,43,616 566

14,339 6

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,082 13

94 9

16,87,089 4

22,899

West Bengal

15,85,466 974

7,731 154

15,58,690 808

19,045 12

Delhi

14,39,566 40

334 6

14,14,141 46

25,091

Odisha

10,37,964 441

4,152 45

10,25,507 482

8,305 4

Chhattisgarh

10,05,827 28

230 16

9,92,025 12

13,572

Rajasthan

9,54,400 4

32 0

9,45,414 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,402 24

168 3

8,16,147 21

10,087

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,740 11

79 1

7,82,138 12

10,523

Haryana

7,71,141 8

115 7

7,60,977 15

10,049

Bihar

7,26,054 9

36 6

7,16,357 3

9,661

Telangana

6,70,139 207

3,984 21

6,62,209 184

3,946 2

Assam

6,08,450 324

3,968 102

5,98,515 219

5,967 3

Punjab

6,02,189 26

231 1

5,85,407 25

16,551

Jharkhand

3,48,592 30

202 19

3,43,255 11

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,815 16

169 3

3,36,248 13

7,398

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,566 72

862 8

3,26,275 80

4,429

Himachal Pradesh

2,22,569 257

1,578 95

2,17,257 161

3,734 1

Goa

1,77,852 33

574 26

1,73,920 58

3,358 1

Puducherry

1,27,674 53

457 3

1,25,362 48

1,855 2

Manipur

1,23,229 122

961 55

1,20,361 67

1,907

Mizoram

1,17,261 572

8,943 693

1,07,911 1,258

407 7

Tripura

84,384 8

101 3

83,467 5

816

Meghalaya

83,322 53

695 3

81,184 56

1,443

Chandigarh

65,321 1

27 1

64,474 2

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,089 14

142 1

54,667 13

280

Sikkim

31,868 26

195 12

31,279 13

394 1

Nagaland

31,707 18

250 5

30,778 12

679 1

Ladakh

20,899 3

38 2

20,653 5

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,679

4 0

10,671

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,648 2

8 2

7,511

129

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