by Aahana Khemani

The COVID-19 pandemic, has once again struck fear everywhere. With states all over India breaking COVID-19 records, not only are the citizens petrified, but the government is too. From high COVID-19 records, oxygen shortages, to vaccine shortages, let us explore the unfortunate COVID-19 chaos in India, and see how we can help. 

According to ABP Live, on 28th April, 2021, India registered another high unfortunate record of 3.6 lakh cases in 24 hours. The number of COVID-19 cases have just been ascending over the month of April, 2021. Along with various austerities, this has led to multiple shortages.

COVID-19 mainly affects the lungs. Oxygen is required and an essential for the human body in an ordinary circumstance but more so when the lungs are being attacked. With the rise of COVID-19 cases, the number of available oxygen cylinders are declining. Prime Minister Modi was informed during a review meeting that the production has escalated from 5,700 MT per day during August 2020, to 8,922 MT on April 25th this year. However, it still doesn’t seem to be enough. 

It is no secret that states of India fear vaccine shortage. Shortages of the COVID-19 vaccines may disturb plans to immunize all adults, from May 1st. Punjab, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgrah spoke, saying they may not be able to meet the increased demand for vaccines due to the lack of proper manufacturing capacity at Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech International. In fact, even the current demand from people above the age of 45 years and healthcare and frontline workers getting vaccinated seems unsure and unlikely. Vaccines are one of the fundamentals needed to eradicate the COVID-19 pandemic. If there are such vaccine shortages in a populated country like India, what is really the probability that India’s COVID-19 pandemic will end in the next 5-6 months? 

Last but certainly not least, hospitals in multiple states and cities are running out of beds. Due to this, some people have been strained into finding ways to treat unwell patients at home. This has also enforced some to turn to the black market, where prices of necessary medicines, oxygen cylinders, and concentrators have soared. Doubtful and questionable drugs are also increasing. Anshu Priya was unable to get a hospital bed in Delhi or surrounding suburbs such as Noida for her father in law. His condition kept on deteriorating. Most of her Sunday was spent looking for an oxygen cylinder, but her search remained vain. She was finally imposed to turn to the black market. She had to pay a large sum of money to buy a cylinder. Cylinders usually cost 6,000 rupees. However, she paid 50,000 rupees for it. Almost 9 times the amount! Her mother in law was additionally also struggling to breathe. Anshu Priya knew that she may not find or afford another cylinder on the black market. Left with hanging hopes, this is just one example of citizens in distress due to the shortage of cylinders. 

One might wonder, why is India facing such chaos due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when there are so many countries that are not as distressed? Well, there are multiple aspects that go hand in hand. Firstly, the large population that leads to rising cases due to factors such as more coverage of spreading virus. Secondly, the economic situation which is not enabling India to freely purchase as many required supplies. A large part of the economic downfall could also be lockdown’s repercussions. Thirdly, other countries haven’t helped India as much as India has helped them. India extended help towards 150 other countries in a battle against COVID-19. While there are no doubt countries helping India, the number is a fraction compared to the number that India has helped. 

This is the scenario. However, you can help. Some of the ways in which you could help are supporting fundraisers such as Ketto pages. Or, you could even collect signatures and stand up for a cause you believe should be addressed, through petitions. Last but not least, follow COVID-19 protocols, which are quite known by now. Here’s a guide just in case. 

In conclusion, yes, India is facing COVID-19 chaos currently. But you could help. You could make a difference. Even if it seems as simple as sending a medical helpline number to a COVID-19 patient to contact medical staff. But it’s up to us, to make a difference.