Covid deaths surge, ‘image of India hurt’

RITU JHA

Covid-19 has spread in India’s villages and horrifying numbers of people are dying thanks to fake medicines and even spurious oxygen cylinders, Maya Vishwakarma, who quit being a cancer researcher in California to go back to rural Madhya Pradesh and work on awareness about menstrual health, told indica News.

Vishwakarma is the founder of Sukarma Telemedicine and Primary Healthcare in Mehragaon, a village in Madhya Pradesh. She is helping Covid patients at her healthcare center.

She told indica News that more than 200 people have died in just few weeks in villages near Mehragaon because of lack of medicines, and shortage of oxygen and doctors.

She said the local hospital has neither electricity nor oxygen, so patients are sent back home.

Medicines are sold at double prices there is no check on that; how can a poor person afford? We at the health clinic offer free service and ask for just the doctor’s fee, Rs 60. Outside, the cost is in thousands. And the nearest civil hospital is 100 km away,” she said.

Madhya Pradesh is by no means the only state where such tragedies are unfolding. On Monday, the Karnataka government ordered a probe after 23 Covid patients died due to interruption in the supply of medical oxygen at the Chamarajanagar Institute of Medical Sciences.

In America, the visuals of burning pyres have sparked distress and doubt.

What you watch is very disheartening and it’s a reality; and I am not sure if the government data coming is true,” said Dr Dinker Trivedi, a cardiologist in Oak Lawn, Illinois.

The concern is the virus variants and younger people dying many with no medical history,” he said. “It has become everyday news you get about someone known dying.”

This mutation of the virus is going to continue and so the question is if vaccines are going to be effective against some of the mutations in the future. There is a lot of uncertainty… unless 70 percent of the population gets affected the surge is not going to go away,” he said.”

Why? “We need vaccines and we do not have enough vaccines for the population,” he said. “ASnd people don’t wear their masks and we see on TV some people giving oxygen to Covid people are not wearing masks. So, end of the day it is going to spread unless everyone gets immune.”

He believes people should stay home, “but how can you expect a daily manual laborer to stay home and feed his family? The government should give money to such people for them to stay home.”

Dr Trivedi added: “The government has to fight covid on multiple fronts. The covid virus slowly builds but and it’s not overnight and so whatever is happing in India is not going to go away in May, it might continue until July… might be September.”

He said that the world had realized India is a third world country.

It has really hurt India’s image tremendously,” Dr Trivedi said. “People are dying due to the lack of oxygen and the dead bodies are piling up on the street.”

More than 200,000 people have died of Covid-19 in India since the pandemic began last year, though experts say that number is a massive understatement. 

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