A crazy surge of COVID in India is overwhelming their health care system and wreaking havoc across the country. The previous peak of new cases during their summer surge was roughly 90,000 cases/day, now it’s over 300,000 cases/day and the numbers are only going to get worse before it gets any better.
It is personally, heartbreaking. I was born in India, in a large city in the south called Chennai. My wife’s family is from the northern state of Bihar. On Facebook and through family connections, we have heard of people we know who are infected, who have died, or who are in a dire search of oxygen cannisters for life support.
The reasons for this surge is multifactorial and ought to serve as a cautionary tale. India had been relatively less affected than other parts of the world until this point. So much so that they exported oxygen canisters, vaccines, and in the early days even PPE to us here in the United States. Because of their deemed success, they let their guard down. Politicians unmasked themselves at campaign rallies and wafted their masks in the air. People attended large functions such as weddings without distancing or masks. Most importantly, less than 2% of their population is vaccinated. India is about 1/3 the size of the United States with at least 4 times the population. Therefore, very dense. People live often literally on top of each other.
So if you get an infectious variant that is highly contagious and causes severe illness, it’s going to be a wild fire. And the funeral pyres are raging 24/7.