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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

Sep 29, 2021 - Health

CDC issues urgent advisory calling on pregnant people to get COVID vaccine

Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

The CDC issued "an urgent health advisory" on Wednesday urging people who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Why it matters: The CDC said it "strongly recommends" vaccination because its benefits for a pregnant person and the fetus outweigh the risks. It added that pregnant people with COVID-19 are at "increased risk" of outcomes such as preterm birth, stillbirth and admission of a newborn into the ICU.

AT&T mandates COVID vaccination for most unionized workers

Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

AT&T expanded its COVID-19 vaccine mandate Wednesday to employees who are members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union.

Why it matters: The communications giant is one of the biggest employers in the U.S. to require frontline workers to be vaccinated against the virus. The union said it represents some 90,000 AT&T workers, per AP.

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.