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India’s coronavirus death toll crossed 200,000 on Wednesday as an ‘angry’ wave of new cases swamped hospitals and sent desperate families out into the streets of the capital in search of oxygen supplies and medicine to stay alive.
Infection and death rates are soaring in the densely populated country, which is presently in contrast with the United States and some European nations taking tentative steps back towards a normal life.
The virus has now killed more than 3.1 million people worldwide, with India driving the latest surge, recording 360,000 new infections — a global record — and over 3,000 deaths on Wednesday.
According to reports, in the capital city of New Delhi, car parks have been converted to crematoriums and the soaring body count has sparked a shortage of wood for funeral pyres.
Desperate relatives of the sick are crowding outside hospitals and pharmacies in search of treatment and medicines, mostly in futility as the death toll continues to soar.
Arriving in cars, rickshaws, and ambulances, patients and their families desperate for oxygen flocked to a tent outside a Sikh place of worship on the outskirts of the capital this week.
Priyanka Mandal, 30, had been searching for oxygen for her mother since she became sick a week ago.
‘Medicines are also not available… I’ve visited five, six big medical stores,’ she told correspondents.
‘No matter how much time it takes, I have to wait here… I only have my mum.’
Despite the rising cases, on Tuesday around 25,000 people took part in the final bathing day at the Kumbh Mela religious gathering in the northern town of Haridwar, drawn to the banks of the Ganges by an “auspicious” full moon, festival official Harbeer Singh told journalists.
The gathering has attracted millions of pilgrims, mostly without masks, sparking criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist government for allowing it to go ahead.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK