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Families of Indian Covid patients flood social media with cries for help as situation worsens

Vishwam Sankaran
·3-min read
Family members carry out last rites of patients who died of COVID-19 at a hospital in Bengaluru, India (AFP via Getty Images)
Family members carry out last rites of patients who died of COVID-19 at a hospital in Bengaluru, India (AFP via Getty Images)

The daily tally of new coronavirus infections in India hit a new record of 2,17,353 cases in the last 24 hours, according to the health ministry data, marking the second consecutive day when the number of newly diagnosed has crossed the two lakh mark.

The positivity rate for testing in the country is also in double digits with the country recently overtaking Brazil to be the second most affected by the disease in the world, only behind the US.

As deaths due to COVID-19 continues to increase in the country with 1,185 new fatalities to the disease reported in the last 24 hours, and as the country’s health infrastructure faces mounting pressure, families are turning to social media to get help for procuring drugs.

In many cities, even those who had given samples for COVID-testing complain of delays with results coming in after 48-72 hours.

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Reports of patients struggling to arrange for hospital beds, ventilators, oxygen cylinders, and life-saving medicines for their families are emerging from several parts of the country, with some complaining of the non availability of tests to diagnose friends and family members showing signs of infection.

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While there are still no proven drugs that cure COVID-19, doctors in India still prescribe the drugs Remdesivir and Tocilizumab as their best bet, which are being sold at exhorbitantly high prices, several times the original value.

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Almost every day the police are actively busting rackets involved in blackmarketing of Remdesivir.

With manufacturers struggling to meet the demand for the antiviral drug Remdesivir, the government has called for an increase in its production, condemning the black marketing practices.

Tocilizumab, another drug, that is being been prescribed, has almost completely gone off the country’s pharmacy shelves, according to a report by BBC.

“The situation is so bad that I can’t even get the drugs for my own family members,” Rajiv Singhal, general secretary of the All India Chemists and Druggists Association, was quoted saying by BBC.

“We are trying to take action against those who are black marketing, but I admit that there are leakages in the system,” Singhal reportedly said.

Meanwhile, with the widespread shortage of oxygen cylinders reported across the country, the government has announced a plan to have 100 new hospitals have their own oxygen plant.

Doctors from several cities also told AFP that the number of children below the age of 12 and 15 admitted in hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms has increased in India’s second wave of infections.

On top of these mounting pressures to healthcare systems, crematoriums are also struggling, with people queing up for hours for their turn to bury their relatives, according to several reports.

Reports also emerged of tin sheets being used to surround cremation sites in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow to prevent people from taking pictures at a crematorium after videos showing dozens of funeral pyres burning there went viral on social media.

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