While the U.S. emerges from the COVID fog, the situation in India grows more dire by the day.
The crowded nation surpassed 200,000 COVID deaths, and reported a single-day record of fatalities (3,645), earlier this week. New infections are surging, bodies are piling up — and the Biden administration at last is planning to release millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to help meet global need.
According to public figures tracked by Our World in Data, India reported more than 350,000 new covid-19 cases on Sunday, accounting for almost half of the world’s total that day.https://t.co/MqF20WelvW#covid #pandemic #india pic.twitter.com/tCAt2fnbLs
— Statista (@StatistaCharts) April 27, 2021
While pressure has built on the Biden administration, it is all the more acute on the government in New Delhi. The images and the stories emerging from the country are heartbreaking.
The mobile phone rings incessantly and never ceases to stop. This time it is a family of six, all Covid-19 positive and locked in with the body of their grandfather for six hours.
Answering the phone call is Jitender Singh Shunty (59), exhausted yet determined. The former MLA makes them a promise that he has been making to several hundred people every day in East Delhi. “I am coming there. We will cremate the body. He will not be alone. Please rest and recover.”
This was his 30th phone call on Friday afternoon. Shunty gets an average of 500 phone calls asking for a range of services. But mostly, Shunty has been helping people in East Delhi cremate the dead. His son and wife have tested positive for the coronavirus. Four of his staff have tested positive and one driver, Arif Khan (55), lost his life to the virus. Yet, Shunty labours on. “The deaths in east Delhi have increased three-fold. We burn bodies till 11 pm.”