India reported 4,454 new Covid-19 fatalities on Monday and is now the third country in the world after Brazil and the United States to surpass more than 300,000 official deaths. It also added more than 220,000 new cases, marking the fourth consecutive day that the number of cases recorded in the country have declined.
The spiraling crisis has overwhelmed India’s health care system in several states. Beds, oxygen and medical workers are in short supply. Some patients are dying in waiting rooms or outside overflowing clinics. At cremation grounds, bodies are piling up faster than workers can build new pyres.
While the outbreak is beginning to abate in major cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, its spread to rural areas is drawing concern. Meanwhile, an alarming uptick in deaths among Covid-19 survivors from a rare “black fungus” infection is underlining problems in India’s health care system. And the country’s vaccination drive is faltering, dogged by shortages at a time when it is needed most.
As the crisis has unfolded, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been slammed by international media for not doing enough to prevent the catastrophe, and for downplaying the death toll. But, inside the country, telling the truth can get journalists in trouble — India ranks among the lowest in the world for press freedom. Still, local media outlets are working tirelessly to get the real story out, doing some traditional shoe-leather journalism, Diksha Madhok writes. They’re also fighting for transparency and accountability from a government that has tried to clamp down on criticism of Modi and his handling of the pandemic.
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SOURCE: CNN, Eliza Mackintosh