As Delhi and Maharashtra alerted the Centre about a very severe oxygen crisis in light of the COVID cases surge, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on Wednesday, 21 April.
PM Modi started his address by expressing his sympathies to the people who have lost a dear one to COVID-19, while acknowledging that the country is facing a second wave of the virus.
“We should not lose our patience, the challenge is big,” he said.
The challenge is not just big, it’s crushing the healthcare infrastructure in the country. There is acute shortage of hospital beds, ventilators, COVID injections and medications and other life-saving facilities that critical patients need to recover.
Whilst advising states to not enforce lockdown since it won't be necessary if people apparently follow COVID protocols, PM Modi conveniently forgot to tell the janta, just how big the challenge is, and what the government is really planning to do to mitigate the crisis.
Crematoriums in Gujarat are facing a crisis. The long waits at the crematoriums have forced the families of the deceased to perform the last rites on open grounds. Overuse of crematoriums, who are catering to over 100 bodies a day has also led to melting of gas furnaces.
Visuals have emerged of multiple bodies being cremated together due to lack of space available, three-four patients sharing one hospital bed due to a shortage, bodies kept outside the hospitals due to no funeral arrangements being available due to the crisis.
The second wave has affected India in ways the government doesn't want to openly admit. It is, alas, election time. The Centre's priorities are clear. The campaigning in West Bengal will continue even as it derails several citizen-led initiatives to support those struggling to access hospital beds and medicines.
Bengal saw 10,784 new COVID cases on Wednesday, up 13 times since polls began on 27 March.
GTB hospital was expected to exhaust its oxygen supply used for treatment of COVID patients by 2 am on Tuesday night, 20 March. Less than 30 minutes before Delhi’s GTB Hospital was to run out of oxygen supply for over 500 COVID positive patients, an oxygen tanker from INOX arrived at the hospital.
The footage of the truck arriving was shared on Twitter by many volunteers and doctors as a happy ending to an otherwise terrifying health infrastructure crisis.
PM Modi's speech the next day appealed to the youth, the 'bal mitron', to help enforce COVID-19-appropriate behaviour in their societies and communities by forming committees to ensure the protocols are being followed.
The youth and the citizens are doing all they can and more. But we want to know, what is the government doing for us?
. Read more on Graphic Novels by The Quint.Dear PM Modi, Oxygen Shortage And COVID Casualties Are Kaafi RealSitaram Yechury’s Son Passes Away After 2-Week Battle With COVID . Read more on Graphic Novels by The Quint.