Apr 23, 2021 - Health

Hospitals in India facing oxygen shortage amid COVID-19 surge

Picture of a health worker in protective gear helping a coronavirus patient
Photo: Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Hospitals in New Delhi are pleading on social media for the government to provide more oxygen tanks and other medical supplies as India battles the world's worst coronavirus surge, AP reported on Friday.

Driving the news: The country reported 314,835 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, setting a record for the world's highest single-day number of new cases for the second straight day.

  • While 2.7 million vaccine doses are administered daily, less than 10% of the population have gotten their first shot, AP noted.
  • India has reported more than 16 million coronavirus cases and over 186,000 deaths since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The big picture: "Understaffed hospitals are overflowing with patients. Medical oxygen is in short supply. Intensive care units are full. Nearly all ventilators are in use, and the dead are piling up at crematoriums and graveyards," AP reported.

  • Some people are being turned away from hospitals, which have been overrun with cases amid shortages in oxygen and other vital supplies, per Reuters.
  • Meanwhile, the government has started running special trains to deliver oxygen tanks to meet the shortages in healthcare facilities.
  • A fire in an ICU unit at a hospital on the outskirts of Mumbai early Friday killed 13 coronavirus patients, per AP.

What they're saying: "We have surplus oxygen at plants which are far off from places where it is needed right now. Trucking oxygen is a challenge from these plants,” Saket Tiku, president of the All India Industrial Gases Manufacturers Association, told AP.

  • “We have ramped up the production as oxygen consumption is rising through the roof. But we have limitations and the biggest challenge right now is transporting it to where it's urgently needed. ”
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