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A COVID-19 patient wearing an oxygen mask waits inside an auto rickshaw to be admitted to a dedicated COVID-19 government hospital in Ahmedabad, India, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. The global death toll from the coronavirus topped a staggering 3 million people Saturday amid repeated setbacks in the worldwide vaccination campaign and a deepening crisis in places such as Brazil, India, and France. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

One-year-old Tirth Devender reacts as a health worker collects his swab for a COVID-19 test at the Municipal hospital in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. The country of almost 1.4 billion people is seeing a crippling surge of infections which is threatening to overwhelm hospitals in hard-hit cities. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

India being overrun by its massive virus surge

By The Associated Press

April 21, 2021

India has been overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of new coronavirus cases daily, bringing pain, fear, and agony to many lives as lockdowns have been placed in Delhi and other cities.

India’s Health Ministry reported 295,041 new cases on Wednesday with 2,023 deaths, taking total fatalities to 182,553. India has since the start of the pandemic recorded 15.6 million cases, the second highest behind the United States.

Newly reported cases have exceeded 200,000 each day for a week — with people being infected faster than they can be tested.

"This time, infection is spreading so fast that people are not getting time to get medicines. Many people are dying before we can get a test report," said Dr. S K Pandey of Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences in Lucknow, capital of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Many have blamed politicians for allowing super-spreader events such as mass gatherings to take place.

Religious leaders and hundreds of thousands of devout Hindus descended on the banks of the Ganges River in the northern Indian city of Haridwar last month for a major Kumbh festival. They believe that a dip in holy water will wash away their sins and prevent rebirth. One prominent Hindu religious leader died of COVID-19 shortly after.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, as well as opposition politicians took part in mass election rallies in five populous states with tens of thousands of supporters not wearing masks or social distancing.

Tens of thousands of farmers protesting new agricultural reform laws have been camping on the outskirts of the Indian capital in crowded tents and makeshift townships since November.

Modi tried to boost spirits in a nationwide address on Tuesday night by saying the government and the pharmaceutical industry were stepping up efforts to meet the shortages of hospital beds, oxygen, tests, and vaccines.

But, he admitted, the "surge in infections has come like a storm and a big battle lies ahead."

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