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A makeshift mass crematorium in New Delhi. Photo: Imtiyaz Khan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

India's runaway coronavirus surge is only getting worse, and doctors are growing increasingly concerned about the risks of a new variant.

The state of play: "The current wave of COVID has a different clinical behavior," Sujay Shad, a surgeon at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, told The New York Times. "It's affecting young adults. It's affecting families. It's a new thing altogether. Two-month-old babies are getting infected."

Reports are still anecdotal, and researchers say data is too thin, but reports of dozens of fully vaccinated doctors falling ill have fueled concerns that the virus is finding a way to evade the world's defenses.

  • Experts also worry that variants may be leading to reinfections, Ravindra Gupta, professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge, told Time.

Where it stands: Hospitals are running out of critical supplies, including oxygen.

  • The country is averaging 300,000 cases a day and the official death toll is at 200,000, but experts believe that's a severe undercount.
  • Crematoriums are operating around the clock and expanding into parking lots to add more capacity, per the BBC.

What they're saying: Writing from his home, the New York Times New Delhi bureau chief, Jeffrey Gettleman, described the unsettling nature of the latest surge — and the lack of available help for people living there.

  • "If we do get really sick, where will we go? ICUs are full. Gates to many hospitals have been closed," he wrote.

Go deeper

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: CDC director maintains Pfizer booster recommendation for high-risk workers — CDC director approves Pfizer boosters, adds eligibility for high-risk workers — FDA approves Pfizer boosters for high-risk individuals, people 65 and up.
  2. Health: America's mismatched COVID fears — Some experts see signs of hope as cases fall — WHO: Nearly 1 in 4 Afghan COVID hospitals shut after Taliban takeover — D.C. goes further than area counties with vaccine mandates.
  3. Politics: Bolsonaro isolating after health minister tests positive at UN summit — United Airlines says 97% of U.S. employees fully vaccinated — Mormon Church to mandate masks in temples.
  4. Education: Health care workers and teachers caught up in booster confusion — Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine — Education Department investigating Texas mask mandate ban.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Sep 24, 2021 - Health

Moderna CEO: Pandemic could be over in a year

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel. Photo: Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel told the Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung on Thursday he thinks the COVID-19 pandemic could be over in a year due to increases in vaccine production, per Reuters.

What he's saying: "If you look at the industry-wide expansion of production capacities over the past six months, enough doses should be available by the middle of next year so that everyone on this Earth can be vaccinated," Bancel said.

Sep 23, 2021 - World

Bolsonaro isolating after health minister tests positive for COVID at UN summit

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Timothy A. Clary-Pool/Getty Images

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro and members of his delegation that were in New York for the UN General Assembly were put in isolation after the country's health minister tested positive for coronavirus, according to the state health regulator.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro, who tested positive for COVID-19 back in July and has regularly railed against pandemic measures, has not been vaccinated against the virus.