1st letter photo

Railway employees taking the Covid-19 vaccine shot in Chennai March 9. (R Parthibhan/IANS photo)

I was pleased to see the extensive coverage in India-West of India’s recent COVID crisis especially because so many of my own relatives in India have become sick and a few have even died. I did look into this issue and the following is a brief summary of what I found.

On April 29, India’s total COVID-19 cases passed 18 million, new infections 379,257 and new deaths 3,645.

India is in deep crisis, with hospitals and morgues overwhelmed.

India's best hope is to vaccinate its vast population, and on April 28, it opened registration for all above the age of 18 to receive shots from May 1.

Although it is the world's biggest producer of vaccines, India does not have the stocks for the estimated 800 million now eligible.

Only about 9% of India's population of about 1.4 billion has received a dose since the vaccination campaign began in January.

While the second wave overwhelms the health system, the official death rate is below that of Brazil and the United States. Medical experts believe India's true COVID-19 numbers may be five to 10 times greater than the official tally.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been criticized for allowing massive political rallies and religious festivals which have been super-spreader events in recent weeks.

The scale of the current crisis may have been driven by more-transmissible variants, though data are limited because of a lack of widespread genomic sequencing. The virus moves quickly through the multigenerational households of India.

The healthcare system is underfunded.

Pradeep Srivastava

Albany, California

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