Since a year ago, COVID-19 has held an iron grip on the entire world and continues to tighten its grasp. Certain governments have dealt with the pandemic with ease, such as Australia and New Zealand, whereas others have floundered and continue to struggle one year into this ordeal. One country that has been hit quite hard by the disease is India. With a population of almost 1.4 billion, officials are struggling with the increasing amounts of infected citizens. This dilemma has become more obvious within the past few weeks.
Earlier this month, the Indian government opened vaccinations towards all adults in an attempt to quell the rising numbers. However, their campaign’s speed has dwindled as states claimed they have a limited stock.
As of Sunday May 9th, India reported 403,738 confirmed cases, including 4,092 deaths. In total, there have been 22 million confirmed infections and 240,000 deaths; an underestimation by expert accounts.
On Saturday, India’s Supreme Court said that they would assemble a task force composed of top experts and doctors that will conduct an “oxygen audit” to determine whether supplies from the federal government have reached states. This announcement comes after numerous complaints of oxygen shortages have reached the top court.
India’s vaccine rollout began at a slow pace this January. At the time, infection cases were low, and the country was exporting large quantities of vaccine doses, an estimated 64 million went abroad. The infection rate began to rise in March and April, sending the country into a perilous second wave. With the rising rate, the vaccine exports decreased. It is estimated that only 10 percent of its population has received one dose while a meager 2.5 percent has received both.
Citizens abroad and at home have voiced their concern that the Indian government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has done far too little too late in response to the surge in COVID-19 cases. Additionally, it seems that countries who received vaccine exports from India earlier this year have turned a blind eye on their ally, doing little to aid a country in crisis. Without definite action, there are bound to be disastrous effects, but only time will tell.
By Angélique Chu