In the midst of a crippling new outbreak of the pandemic, the nation set a new world record for daily cases of Covid-19. On Wednesday, with 3,15,925 cases, India had the highest daily total recorded by any country. It exceeded a previous high set by the US in January. With a sense of national emergency gripping the world’s second most populous nation, the crisis is expected to worsen before improving.
The number of active cases has increased to 22,91,428. The total number of cases stand at 1,59,30,965, recoveries at 1,34,54,880 and the total death toll at 1,84,657. There is a scarcity of beds, oxygen cylinders, ICU beds, vaccines, and Remdesivir injections in hospitals around India.
“Oxygen is scheduled to arrive from Odisha as well. As a result, Oxygen will take some time to reach Delhi. We’re trying to figure out how we can get Oxygen from there by air,” CM Kejriwal said in a press conference on today, amid a serious oxygen shortage in Delhi.
To combat the outbreak of Covid-19, the Centre and states have taken the initiative and are testing, tracking, and speeding up the vaccination campaign. Though states such as Maharashtra and Delhi have instituted lockdown, the Centre has made vaccinations available to everyone above the age of 18. To further alleviate the country’s oxygen shortage, the tata group has agreed to import 24 cryogenic containers to carry liquid oxygen. Pfizer, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, has agreed to prioritise government orders and provide doses of its Covid-19 vaccine “only through government contracts” in India.
NewsX has proposed several measures that the government of India can take to address the problem of lack of Oxygen and Remdesivir. One primary approach is to install PSA plants in the 100 hospitals that have been listed to provide their own oxygen. Large storage tanks with a 10-day capacity could be used in hospitals. To carry oxygen and save time, trains should be used. In addition, the excess oxygen from iron and steel plants can be transferred to medicinal purposes. The Centre should lower Remdesivir prices to improve accessibility and fight black marketing in order to increase Remdesivir production. The selling of Remdesivir injections should be closely monitored as well.
At present, India needs the 3Cs: Coverage of Vaccination & Oxygen supplies, Containment efforts to reduce the transmission, and Continued genetic sequencing. It would succeed if a campaign is backed up by a policy focused on tried-and-true public health values. The easiest way to deal with the problem is to use a district-specific approach of “test, track, handle” along with containment measures (isolation and quarantine). Government needs to reinforce and incentivize the beleaguered health workforce in order to enforce them with the same rigour as before. The government should also bring an end to political squabbling, which undermines public interest and confidence. Although strategic errors during the first wave can be forgiven, the nation cannot afford it again.