Written for Daily Hive by Shibani Gokhale, a video journalist and political reporter.
India’s COVID-19 outbreak is officially the worst in the world. The country has been reporting upwards of 300,000 new positive cases every single day — and hit a record high of 412,262 new cases on Thursday.
But experts are saying even these numbers might be too low.
Hospitals are so overcrowded and overwhelmed that they’re being forced to turn patients away and patients are dying from lack of treatment. The oxygen supply has depleted and desperate residents have turned to the black market, where they’re being exploited for thousands of dollars.
Crematorium and graveyard workers have been working around the clock to cremate the staggering number of dead bodies. But they’re now so full, Indians are constructing makeshift funeral pyres in public parks to say goodbye to their loved ones.
Experts are saying a lot of this could have been avoided if only Indian officials hadn’t relaxed physical distancing regulations. The government continued to hold huge election rallies, refused to cancel large religious congregations, and did not place limits on gathering numbers for weddings and parties. On top of this, vaccination numbers remained fairly low and the mutant COVID variants took hold.
Many are calling it the “perfect storm” — a storm that has now caused over 200,000 deaths.
The situation is dire and India needs help
India is capable of producing its own vaccines and has been administering two of its own to citizens. But it needs supplies to keep going. This is where countries like Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom come in.
The United States recently lifted an embargo on supply exports and agreed to send over vaccine supplies to India. Canada has agreed to send financial aid to Indian Red Cross and the United Kingdom is sending Oxygen and ventilators.
But this isn’t enough. India requires more global aid.
India is in desperate need of fast and cheap COVID testing so the virus can be controlled before people start needing Oxygen. It also needs medical supplies and more medical workers to ease the burden on the health system.
Most importantly, it needs access to information so it can develop potential treatments for the virus along with more vaccine alternatives. This would require the Western countries to relax intellectual property rules.
India has petitioned the World Trade Organization to do exactly this. The move has also been backed by over 100 countries. But Canada and the United States have not responded to the petition. Experts say they should to maintain vaccine and medical equity in the world.
Verified donation campaigns
Activists are working around the clock to make sure people in India have access to oxygen, medical supplies. and food.
But they need financial support to keep going. So donate! And remember, the conversion rate matters. What may seem like a small amount in dollars is a large amount in rupees.
Here are some verified donation campaigns aiding India during the COVID crisis:
Canadian Red Cross: COVID-19 response appeal working with Indian Red Cross.
Indian Red Cross: The organization has been delivering oxygen, aid, and medical supplies across the country
Give India Free Oxygen – GiveIndia will partner with the Government, healthcare facilities and clinics, to supply equipment to charitable hospitals and COVID Care Centres
Enrich Lives Foundation – Making sure the country’s poorest communities have access to food and groceries during these unprecedented times
Hemkunt Foundation – Providing free oxygen to COVID patients
Support COVID-19 Hit Families – To provide a safety-net for the thousands of poor labourers who have lost their jobs due to Coronavirus
Khalsa Aid – Providing free oxygen and food to COVID impacted people across the country
Care India – Supplying hospitals and frontline workers in India with PPE kits and masks
Ketto– Shepherding a campaign to purchase thousands of oxygen concentrators