*Trigger Warning: Covid Death*
In the wake of the current pandemic, India is going through a horrible crisis. Empty streets, deserted markets and rushing ambulances with eerie sirens and burning crematoriums tell a tragic tale.
The second wave of COVID-19 has hit us hard. It has caught the healthcare system and people at large off their guards. It is massive already and is only getting bigger, leaving destruction in its wake. The situation is very alarming.
The daily reported number of new covid cases is breaking records every day. As per the data released by the MoHFW, it has already crossed the 4 lakh mark. There is a consequent surge in mortality too. With the ever-increasing daily rise in COVID-19 cases, the pressure on doctors and healthcare staff is mounting.
Hospitals in most of the states are fully packed. Despite their endless efforts, people are struggling even to get their loved ones (with severe symptoms) beds in these hospitals, let alone treatment. It’s heartbreaking to hear of patients dying unattended just outside hospitals. A vacant bed in a hospital has become a luxury not many can afford today.
As if this wasn’t enough trouble to deal with, hospitals nationwide face an oxygen crisis, with some experts even calling it a “National Oxygen Emergency”. Clearly, the sudden increase in demand for medical oxygen has outweighed the current supply leading to this crisis. On top of this, the centre, like a referee, quietly watches the states fight over oxygen supply as the clock ticks by.
Many premier hospitals of the country, running short of oxygen, are using Twitter and other social media platforms to reach out to the government. They face an acute shortage of oxygen, which happens to be the most vital tool in our fight against the virus. Doctors feel helpless as they watch their patients pant to death like fish taken out of water.
At a time when their countrymen are struggling for survival, some people can’t help making cash out of their miseries. Despite all the measures put in place, black marketing isn’t slowing down. The standard medicines prescribed for the treatment of COVID-19 are reportedly out of stock unless one offers extra cash to chemists.
The EUA authorised antiviral drug Remdesivir has become a daydream to the patients as it is being hoarded by family and friends of the distributors and collectors alike. Oxygen cylinders continue to be illegally hoarded and sold to the patients at as high as 10 times the original cost.
Some can still afford all this, but what about those who can’t? Do they not have an equal right to life? Who do they reach out to? Black marketing needs to stop right now.
Be it that helpless mother whose son collapsed in her lap failing to get treatment, that devastated daughter who lost her father to the negligence of the hospital or that wife whose desperate CPR to her husband couldn’t revive him, these painful sights will never leave our memories. The whole country is crying.
But who is responsible for those tears? Why is there a shortage of beds, oxygen and medicine? Whom does a common person call for help? Couldn’t the government have done better than organising super spreader events and patting its own back? Surely the system has failed big times. Although it’s probably not the right time to point fingers, these questions can’t be avoided. The citizens demand answers, but it seems the government has put a deaf ear to their woes.
Stay indoors unless urgent. Put on a mask, preferably two, before stepping out. Keep washing your hands regularly. Check out the guidelines laid by the WHO and the MoHFW for more details.
Our collective responsibility is to break the chain of transmission of this virus by taking utmost precautions and following ‘covid appropriate behaviours. Get your shot of the vaccine at the earliest. Do not be complacent at any cost.
And yes, help as many people as you can in whatever way possible. Your little aid can save someone’s life, someone’s world from falling apart.
Some helpful links and helplines: