Fauci Joins Calls For Nationwide Lockdown To Contain India's Covid Crisis
May 10, 2021
May 9, 2021
A small private hospital in India's most populous state is being charged under the National Security Act for sounding the alarm over a lack of oxygen.
Akilesh Pandey, who owns and runs the hospital in the state's capital, said four of his patients died on a single day when oxygen ran out.
He says he made repeated appeals to the state authorities warning them his supplies were running low but they failed to re-supply him with oxygen for 13 hours.
It says: "After repeated request to the UPCM/Central Government we are not able to get enough oxygen supply, hence we requesting family members those patients who are on oxygen support please take their patients higher centre for further management."
Days later, Mr Pandey says the police laid charges against him for "false scare-mongering", raided his hospital and seized the CCTV from that day.
We arrived at the hospital as it was receiving a consignment of oxygen cylinders. The hospital's oxygen-flow gauge showed once again it was running perilously low.
"I care about my patients enormously," Mr Pandey told us. "They are my family but that day we could not give them oxygen."
"These are the five oxygen cylinders that we had that afternoon…that would give one-and-a-half, to two hours of oxygen to patients.
"We decreased the pressure flow slightly so that we could extend the flow to about three to three-and-a-half hours hours…." he told us.
He said he hadn't had time to process what's going on: his uncle is still ill with coronavirus in the same hospital and he hasn't had the courage to tell his aunt's husband who is at home suffering with coronavirus too.
"My aunt needed high oxygen but when oxygen finished here, she was put on a concentrator but she could not manage by that.
"If there was oxygen she would not have died - my cousin would not have died."
"This is the government's responsibility to provide oxygen," he said. "This has been made a COVID centre and the government must provide.
"The hospital is trying its best."
The state's authorities have suggested the alarms are inducing panic and the situation is under control - even as the area posted a new record daily high number of deaths on Friday.
Our team travelled from New Delhi more than 200 kilometres to Agra and then several hundred more kilometres onto Lucknow - and all along the route, we found thousands of people flouting the lockdown and the night-time curfew only being patchily enforced.
It's almost certainly contributed to the upsurge in infections and deaths over the past few weeks.
Although medics believe the situation is stabilising, there's still an unknown number of infections and deaths throughout this large state which dwarfs whole countries in terms of population.
Of course, there are important caveats. All of this information is anecdotal but with a fast-changing and developing disease, those on the frontline - especially in India - are anxious to share whatever they can glean about the disease and its changing make-up so others may be quicker to react or respond.
According to the range of doctors, nurses and health workers we've spoken to, there's a marked increase in the number of patients who are suffering from body aches. Often they don't even have a cough but a fever.
More patients are suffering from diarrhoea and eye infections and a very small number also suffer renal problems.
The variants appear to be more aggressive, seem to be more infectious and debilitate the sufferer far more quickly.
Dr Akhil Pratapsingh told us: "It seems the virus is more lethal this time…it seems so.
In the crematoriums around Uttar Pradesh that we visited, all the workers spoke of a sharp increase in the number of deaths over the past few weeks although it now shows signs of plateauing.
But they also mentioned how the dramatic rise in funerals didn't seem to match the official figures.
We watched as a sadhu (a Hindu holy man) performed a ritual around the many burning pyres at one crematorium.
He appeared to be the only person recognising the many dead people here.
We may never get an accurate toll of the pandemic dead throughout India.
Source: Sky News
Image Source: Getty Images
April 26, 2021
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