India runs out of hospital beds, oxygen as COVID-19 crisis escalates

India broke another world grim COVID-19 record on Friday when it recorded an unprecedented daily cases of 346,786 and 2624 deaths.

On Thursday, the second most populated country in the world recorded 332,503 cases and 2256 deaths, breaking the U.S. record of 297,430.

The COVID-19 crisis, sweeping through the country has strained everything from availability of oxygen supplies and hospital beds.

Every five minutes, one person dies of COVID-19 in the country. In Delhi, one person dies every four minutes.

News agencies reported critical COVID-19 patients not being able to secure ICU beds, with some dying on trolleys even before doctors attended to them.

Delhi’s Jaipur Golden Hospital, Saroj Hospital and Batra Hospital and others have all reported oxygen shortage.

SL Gupta, a doctor at Batra Hospital, Delhi said his hospital needed 8000 litres of oxygen per day, but only has 500 litres in 12 hours for 350 patients. “Now tell me how we treat patients”, he said.

Narayan, a father of five children is one of the latest casualties of the second wave of the coronavirus in India.

According to Reuters, his brothers had first brought him to the hospital at 6 a.m. on Friday. But they said staff deemed him well enough to return home.

Ten hours later, his condition deteriorating, they came back. But it was too late to save him.

“The system is broken,” his younger brother Raj said.

Narayan died without being admitted to the hospital, or taken to its morgue, meaning his death is unlikely to be officially counted in the city’s rising toll.

Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, in the northeast of India’s capital, is one of many battling oxygen shortages and a lack of space. Patients die on trolleys outside, like Narayan.

“Due to an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases in Delhi, all the hospitals are over-burdened,” a Delhi government spokesman said.

“Please help us get oxygen, there will be a tragedy here,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a conference on Friday.

The government has deployed military planes and trains to get oxygen from the far corners of the country to Delhi.

Television showed an oxygen truck arriving at Delhi’s Batra hospital after it issued an SOS saying it had 90 minutes of oxygen left for its 260 patients.

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