India is being overwhelmed by a record-breaking wave of COVID-19 cases, with deaths leaving some crematoriums running 24 hours and hospitals running out of oxygen.
The country is the first country in the world to report more than 400,000 cases every day, according to data from Johns Hopkins Universityas the wave threatens global efforts to end the pandemic and return to life before COVID.
“It’s almost like India is going into a perfect storm,” said SV Subramanian, professor of public health and geography at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, noting the confluence of factors that caused the spike in new cases.
Here’s what we know about India and COVID-19.
How Many COVID Cases Does India Have? How many vaccines?
India has surpassed 19 million cases of COVID-19, with more than 200,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. But the pace of both new cases and deaths is accelerating: The country set another daily global record on Saturday, with more than 400,000 new cases, according to official totals experts suspect are too few. Less than 2 percent of the country is also fully vaccinated, with just under 150 million doses administered to a population of more than 1.3 billion people.
Why does India have a second wave?
New COVID-19 cases hit an all-time low in India in February, encourage people to return to sports, religious and social events. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for example, held on massive political rallies, with a crowd of tens of thousands of people.
Modi has also been charged with allegations that he has tried to downplay the pandemic, to the government Order Twitter to delete messages critical of the government’s response to the virus.
Environmental factors also played a role. Lower humidity in some parts of the country, such as New Delhi, may have accelerated the spread of the virus.
And, as in some other parts of the world, the emergence of a new variety has complicated efforts to combat the disease.
What you need to know about the COVID variant in India
The new covid variety in India is called B.1.617, and it is distinguished by not one but two mutations on the virus peak. Scientists are still studying how that so-called double mutant may differ in terms of transmittance and response to vaccination.
But another variant, B.1.1.7, is also spreading in India. This variant, first identified in the UK, is highly contagious. B.1.1.7 is now the dominant species in the United States.
Can Indian Americans go to India (or vice versa)?
From May 4, Biden’s administration is scheduled restrict travel from the United States to India for aliens because of the jump in fallen.
“The policy will be implemented in the face of extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in India,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
Flights from India are not prohibited.
The Pew Research Center estimates the Indian population in the United States at about 4.6 million people.
How can I help India?
A number of charities are working to help India fight the pandemic.
UNICEF sends supplies and emergency equipment, including PPE kits and oxygen concentrators.
The India Development and Relief Fund, which has been awarded four stars by charity evaluator Charity Navigator, is campaigning to help people in India who have lost their livelihoods and are starving as a result of the pandemic.
CARE, a global humanitarian organization, is working to provide hospital services, workers and equipment to India.