India has suffered hugely with the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 402,000 deaths and over 30.1 million confirmed cases. During the peak in spring, hospitals across the country turned away millions of people as healthcare facilities grappled with oxygen shortages and medical centres became overrun with patients.
A huge global aid effort was undertaken to try and alleviate the situation. International charities, such as Orphans in Need, desperately worked to raise money, distributing life-saving oxygen and deploying teams of nurses and doctors to treat people where hospitals had closed their doors.
India now appears to be over the spring spike and has currently administered a total of more than three hundred million vaccine doses. Whilst this sounds like a lot, India has the second-highest population in the world, with more than 1.3 billion residents, so as of July 2021 only 4.5% of the population is fully vaccinated. Progress is slow but steady, although the country is still attempting to recover from the mass deaths and medical disasters of spring 2021.
Timeline of Coronavirus in India
In the spring of 2020, when the rest of the world struggled with the first wave, India coped with the pandemic relatively well.
March 2020 – Government Lockdown
The government enforced a strict national lockdown from March 25, and restrictions did not begin to ease until May 31. During this time, the virus barely spread, and infections remained low, but the government faced criticism due to economic collapse.
While India is developing, large parts of the population live in slums with shared facilities, poor sanitation, food insecurity, and lack of access to healthcare. With these factors considered, the lockdown dramatically impacted those who were already barely surviving, pushing more people into extreme poverty.
May 2020 – Lockdown Lifts
Following the end of the lockdown, the government took a step back and gave control to local authorities. Under local authority control, cases began to rise. From July to October, although the number of infections was increasing, hospitals could cope, and the peak eventually tapered down. By February, the situation was back under control, but it didn’t last for long.
March 2021 – Second Wave
In March, the Indian government was under the impression that the country had gotten through the pandemic relatively unscathed, so large gatherings were permitted. Sports matches and religious events were allowed to go ahead, all of which are now considered super-spreader events due to the lack of social distancing, no masks and the low percentage of the vaccinated population.
Almost overnight, cases began to surge, and millions were getting infected every day. The virus mutated into the Delta variant, a more transmissible variant of the original strain. Very quickly, hospitals became overrun. India only spends around 1.28% of its GDP on healthcare and there is approximately only one doctor per 1,456 people. Health officials in India urged the government that a second wave would happen as it often does with pandemics, and second waves are typically worse than first waves.
The relaxation of the rules across summer 2020 and through winter into 2021 ended up costing thousands of people their lives.
June 2021 – Falling Cases
After substantial international efforts, the second wave of Covid in India has begun to taper off, but many people are still suffering. The India coronavirus emergency of 2021 has exposed huge weaknesses in the fragile healthcare system of the country. Proper medical funding and less complacency could have greatly reduced the number of Covid deaths in India. Whilst cases have dramatically fallen, many Indians are still on the breadline.
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Millions of families in India have been impacted irreparably by the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of those who died were parents, leaving children vulnerable and without the support and safety they need. Many others have lost their jobs and the little income they had, plunging them further into poverty. Please help us protect families from Covid-19 and the devastation it has left in its wake.
Please donate to our India Covid appeal to continue to provide essential medical care, food provisions and sanitation facilities to help stop the spread and prevent a devastating third wave. Please give what you can to help India. Thank you.