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India and the battle against covid

todayMay 26, 2022 30

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I know you probably have heard the news that India is dying. The country that ranks second in population in the entire world seems to be in deep crises, with hospitals and morgues overwhelmed. I was truly shocked when I came across the number of coronavirus victims. There have been 379,257 new infections and about 3,645 new deaths. On April 21st of 2021, Maharashtra, an Indian state, reported the highest number of active COVID-19 cases of over 699 thousand. Other states followed such as Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, followed closely behind, with a lesser death rate. On that day, there were more than sixteen million infected people in India.

The situation in India is just gruesome at this point. Every day thousands of people in India try to find hospital beds and oxygen for their infected loved ones. They try on social media apps and ask for personal contacts. Any bed that becomes available in the ICU is immediately taken by another sick person. Indian army is now moving key supplies, such as oxygen, all over the country and it is going to open its healthcare facilities to civilians.

Did you know India is using hotels and railway coaches as make-shift hospitals? I agree with the experts who say that India’s best hope is vaccination. India has opened registrations for vaccination shots for everyone above 18. But unfortunately, even though India is one of the world’s biggest producers of vaccines, it does not have enough to cater to the 800 million eligible individuals. A lot of people failed at signing up for the vaccine because of no slot being available or even because the registration portal keeps crashing. Around eight million individuals were able to register but we don’t know exactly how many have got slots.

Mumbai had to stop its vaccination drive for 3 days due to being short on supplies. Other than that, Maharashtra is said to extend its COVID-19 curbs, for two more weeks. Even though India was strictly against this, global media has been focused on one thing: The insane rise in India’s COVID cases and the tragic sight of people running around trying desperately to get a hospital bed, oxygen cylinders, or medicines. 

Typically, the Indian government’s first reaction was to just got angry at people who were talking about this. The government asked the hospitals not to use social media to ask for oxygen supplies. FIRs were registered against individuals who tweeted about the ongoing oxygen crisis. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath went as far as to threaten to seize the assets of those individuals who were involved in such damaging exercises. Thankfully, the Indian government has started to see sense, and now India is working together as a nation to solve the issue.

The government directed the industry to only produce oxygen for the sake of medical reasons. This made sure that there was enough raw oxygen available for use. Of course, this didn’t magically solve the problem. Oxygen’s scale producers are mainly steel and metal producers and petrochemical plants that agreed to divert their production. This put India’s daily production capacity at 7,287 MT and Stock at 50,000 MT much higher than the daily consumption that is 3,842 MT. However, the problem is that the design of this productive capacity was done for captive internal use and not for commercial production and distribution elsewhere.

An avoidable crisis
 
The sad reality is that this crisis that India is facing didn’t even have to be a crisis or at least not at this scale if all of this was done in time. All the lives wasted didn’t have to be wasted if action was taken on time. After India has dealt with this critical phase, I hope that it will hold inquiries to figure out the delay in action to a problem that, according to the media, had been identified at the highest level a year ago in April 2020 and even then, solutions were given. When everyone knew a second wave was bound to hit, it was obvious that there was be an increase in the demand for oxygen. It is very odd that despite this, neither the private nor the government healthcare sector did anything to prepare for the unavoidable second wave. I agree with the statement of the Indian Prime Minister that this is not the time for blame games. What has been done is done. Now, all that we can hope for is that India will learn from this experience and finally fix the actual problem- an unwillingness to look at problems as a whole and come up with appropriate solutions.

It is undeniable that India, as a nation, has the tendency to ignore the bigger picture and just solve the problem at hand. They don’t worry themselves worry about the problems of the future. India has faced similar problems in the past due to this way of thinking and I only hope that this experience will help them understand what happens when you ignore the big picture. This mentality runs so deep that you can even see India’s industry. India now plays with the big boys when it comes to technology but if you look closely, you’ll see its industry relies heavily on “just in time” inventory management. What does that mean? It means that it is actually relying on the labour and investment of a lot of small players. Let’s take the example of India’s truck fleet. Around 70% of it falls under the category of a ‘small fleet operator’ meaning they own and operate less than 5 trucks. This shows that most operations rely on individuals and only a few companies have actively developed a secure supply chain for themselves. Most of them didn’t trouble themselves with how things would be done, they just kept money aside for the final service. All this is well and good till it isn’t. In a crisis, it would be too easy for your business to suffer because you didn’t think about the big picture.

Other coronavirus news

India is suffering heavily due to the second wave of coronavirus, and it saddens me to tell you that India has had 201,187 deaths due to coronavirus. It falls fourth on the list of highest deaths in the world, after Mexico, Brazil, and America. A global record was broken by India when it hit 360,960 cases in a single day. It is the highest number of cases in a day and this number is said to be lower than the actual reality, even though there has been ramped-up testing.

ARE HOSPITALS RUNNING OUT OF OXYGEN?

Hospitals and crematoriums continue to struggle due to the second wave. Despite the help by companies and other countries, India reports still being short of oxygen. Even though the Indian government opened its registrations for everyone above the age of eighteen to get vaccinated, it is way behind other countries in rolling out its vaccinations. It is only at 10.5 doses per 100 people which is far less than other countries, such as Brazil who has 18.7, or the UK which is at 69.3 doses per 100 people. Due to the surge in India, the pandemic is growing worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, there has been an increase in cases all over the world for the ninth week in a row. The World Health Organization reports that 5.7 million cases have come forward in the last week and more than 87,000 deaths occurred.

Coronavirus deaths
 
Do you know that the death toll due to the coronavirus has passes 3.13 million? The world has lost too much due to this pandemic. According to John Hopkins University, the number of confirmed COVID cases is more than 14.8 million and I am sure the real number is much higher.
 
WHAT IS INDIA DOING TO SOLVE THE CRISIS?
 
India is busy moving, by air, by train, and by road, huge quantities of oxygen for medical purposes to hospitals in New Delhi, the capital of India, and other areas that were severely affected by the pandemic. The main problem is that medical oxygen does not reach the hospital bed in a timely manner. According to the critics, this delay is due to the location of production units, the dispersed distribution network, and poor planning by the government and healthcare systems. Many hospitals in Delhi, which did not have enough oxygen capacity, made a public call recently asking for emergency supplies. With the raging COVID-19 cases in neighbouring states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh as well, oxygen facilities are trying to meet local demand there as well, and therefore, are spread too thin. To meet the current needs of Delhi, additional oxygen for medical purposes has to be obtained now from the industrial areas of East India.

WHY ARE OXYGEN DELIVERIES GETTING DELAYED?
 
According to the court document, the facilities from where Delhi will be receiving oxygen are now spread over seven states, covering a distance of 1,000 km (625 miles). A gas industry source told Reuters that, due to the hazardous nature of the material, all liquid oxygen must be transported in a limited number of specialized tankers so, deliveries need to be planned in advance to make sure they will be delivered in time. Recently, due to the lack of oxygen all over India, local authorities in some areas have hampered the movement of tankers to keep the supplies they need. According to an official. Delhi received 177 tonnes of oxygen on Wednesday when it was supposed to receive 378 tonnes due to such interruptions. However, industry sources said that Delhi had been lazy in planning and didn’t even think about the fact that it takes time to move oxygen by road. This is another example of what I discussed earlier about Indians not worrying about future problems. This problem would not have existed if they had acted two to three weeks ago. The Delhi government did not respond to questions about the planning they failed to do. The daily production capacity in India is at least 7,100 tonnes, including the oxygen used in industry, which is enough to satisfy the current demand. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office said on Thursday that the government had allocated 6,822 tonnes of liquid oxygen per day for the 20 worst-hit states in the country. As of April 12, India’s total medical oxygen demand was just 3,842 tonnes due to the fact that cases had recently started accelerating. States generally allocate supplies by inter-ministerial bureaucracies, in order to assess and facilitate the flow of medical kits needed during an outbreak. Over the past few days, the Modi office has noticed that steel plants and other industrial units have greatly changed the availability of oxygen. It increased the availability of liquid medical oxygen by 3,300 tonnes.

WHAT IS INDIA DOING TO SOLVE THE CRISIS?
 
The government is trying its best to solve the crises. Recently, the federal government made railways move many tankers from the refilling plants to the places which required them most. The government, working with industrial gas major Linde India (LIND.NS) and others, is using air force cargo planes to fly empty tankers to production facilities. The refilled tankers will go back by road. The Indian armed forces are importing twenty-three mobile oxygen production plants from Germany. While many other industries supply oxygen to hospitals, the salt-to-software group conglomerate Tata Group imports 24 specialized containers for transporting liquid oxygen. The government has ordered the conversion of argon and nitrogen tankers into oxygen. A few experts believe there will be an increase in coronavirus victims in a few weeks, so India needs to dramatically improve oxygen production and delivery systems. I think India should err on the side of caution.

Geographical problem

There is also a geographical problem. While most of the oxygen production capacity is in eastern India, Delhi in the north and Gujarat and Maharashtra in the west are the ones who are most affected and are in dire need of more oxygen. India needs to come up with a better game plan if it wants to bounce back from this crisis or the consequences will be catastrophic.
 

Written By: Ekow Shalders

Written by: Admin

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