Coronavirus overwhelms India’s most populous state

India is upset under the serious second wave of Covid-19 and many states are struggling to cope with the growing numbers. Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, is one of India’s most affected countries, and its people suffer despite claims that authorities are in control of the situation. The BBC’s Geeta Pandy reports that it is out.

Kanwal Jeet Singh’s 58-year-old father, Niranjan Pal Singh, died in an ambulance on Friday while being taken by ferry from one hospital to another. They were rejected by four hospitals due to lack of beds.

“It was a tragic day for me,” he told me by phone from his house in Kanpur. “I believe he would have been alive if he had been treated on time, but no one helped us, the police, the health authorities, or the government.”

With a total of 851,620 infections and 9,830 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, Uttar Pradesh wasn’t doing that bad during the first wave that hit many other states. But the second wave put it at stake.

Authorities say the situation is under control. However, overcrowded laboratory centers, hospitals that keep patients away, crematoriums that burn 24 hours a day at the crematorium in the state capital, Lucknow, and disturbing images of other major cities such as Varanasi, Kampur, and Allahabad are national topics. It has become.

With a population of 240 million, Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state. One in six Indians live, and in another country the population is the fifth largest in the world after China, India, the United States and Indonesia, and larger than Pakistan and Brazil.

The state is also politically the most important in India and sends the maximum number of parliamentarians (80) to parliament. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is fighting from here, albeit from another state. However, this political influence has brought little development.

There are currently 191,000 active cases in the state, with thousands of new infections reported daily, but the number is believed to be much higher. This puts the state’s eerie health infrastructure in the limelight.

Uttar Pradesh Cases and Deaths-Graph

Uttar Pradesh Cases and Deaths-Graph

Among the sick are state Prime Minister Yogi Adityanas, some of his cabinet colleagues, dozens of government officials, and hundreds of doctors, nurses and other health care workers.

Over the past few days, I’ve talked to dozens of people across the state and heard tough stories.

A video shared by a local journalist in Kanpur shows a sick person lying on the ground in the parking lot of the government-run Lala Rajipatrai Hospital. A little further away, an old man sits on a bench. Both are positive for Covid, but the hospital does not have a bed to accommodate them.

Outside the government-run Kansilam hospital, a young woman cried, saying that two hospitals refused to admit her sick mother.

“They say they ran out of beds. If you don’t have a bed, put her on the floor, but at least give her some treatment. There are many patients like her. I’m turning my back.

“The prime minister says he has enough beds. Tell me where they are. Treat my mother,” she said sadly, crying.

“No one came”

The situation in the capital, Lucknow, is similarly dire.

Susir Kumar Sri Bastava was filmed sitting in his car and tied to an oxygen cylinder while his desperate family took him from one hospital to another. By the time they found a bed for him, it was too late.

When I called my son Ashish, he said he was too devastated to speak. “You know what happened. I’m not ready to speak,” he said in a broken voice.

Retired judge Ramesh Chandra’s Hindi handwritten notesAsking for help after authorities were unable to remove his wife’s body from home was shared by hundreds of people on social media.

“My wife and I are both corona positive. Since yesterday morning, I have called the government helpline number at least 50 times, but no one has delivered the medicine or taken me to the hospital. ..

“My wife died this morning because of the administration’s laziness,” he wrote.

Vaccination volume by state

Vaccination volume by state

Personally, it’s no surprise that the state is struggling to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

For years, I’ve been desperate for poor medical facilities in the state-it’s where my ancestral village is located, and I know I’m having a hard time finding doctors and ambulances even in peacetime. I will.

The raging pandemic makes the struggle even more difficult.

In Varanasi, a sanctuary that is also a supporter of Prime Minister Modi, Bimarkapur, a long-time resident whose 70-year-old mother Nirmalakapur died from Covid at the hospital last Thursday, described the situation as “bayaba.”

“I’ve seen too many people die in ambulances. Hospitals keep patients away because they don’t have beds, chemists run out of essential Covid drugs, and they’re deficient in oxygen.”

Kapoor said he encountered a pile of bodies, “Rashon Ka Da,” when he took his mother’s body to the crematorium. The cost of cremation wood has tripled, and the time to wait for the cremation site has increased from 15-20 minutes to 5-6 hours.

“I’ve never seen anything like that. I can see ambulances and bodies everywhere,” he said.

Firewood burning in Lucknow

Lucknow’s crematorium is busy with a 24-hour burning funeral crematorium

There are many stories of deaths and families devastated by Covid-19 due to the ever-increasing number of infections-on Sunday, the state recorded 30,596 new cases, the highest daily count ever.

Still, activists and opposition politicians say they haven’t really seen the spread of the infection. They blame the low number of cases and deaths by not conducting sufficient testing and not including data from private laboratories.

And their claim seems to be beneficial. Many of the people I talked to said they weren’t tested or their positive results weren’t uploaded to the state government’s site. From Lucknow, 62-year-old Ajay Singh sent me a positive test report for his wife, whose state records were not mentioned.

Also, neither Mr. Shin, who died in Kanpur, nor Mrs. Kapoor’s mother, who died in Varanasi, was included in the pandemic casualties state count. Their death certificate did not list the cause of death as coronavirus.

Indian media are also questioning government data-official reports of deaths and corpse discrepancies At the crematorium in Lucknow And Varanasi..

Anshuman Rai, director of Heritage Hospitals, a private group that operates medical collages and hospitals in the state, describes the situation as “abnormal.”

“The reason the service is cracked is that too many healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, ward boys, and lab technicians, are sick.

“When we should work 200%, the health sector is completely dependent on human resources and cannot even do 100%.”

But critics blame the state and federal government for not anticipating the second wave.

They say there was calm from September to February that medical services and infrastructure could have been strengthened, the state could have created an oxygen bank and stockpiled medicines, but they had the opportunity. Wasted.

Also, due to the rapid spread of the virus, it is unlikely that the situation will improve immediately.

Chart and data analysis by Shadab Nazmi