Deadly 2nd wave spreads from cities to small towns

Intro: More states announce lockdowns as an unabated second Covid wave cripples India amid acute oxygen and drug shortage

New Delhi: India’s deadly Covid-19 second wave has devastated big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow and Pune. Hospitals and crematoriums have run out of space, and funerals are taking place in car parks. But the pandemic has now firmly gripped many smaller cities, towns and villages where the devastation is largely under-reported.

Kota in Rajasthan has reported more than 6,000 cases in the past week, and 264 deaths since the pandemic began – but 35% of those happened in April alone, reports the BBC.

There is an acute shortage of oxygen and drugs like remdesivir and tocilizumab. The district is home to many coaching centres for students from all over the country taking exams to get into prestigious medical and engineering colleges.

Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh recorded 54,339 cases up to April 20, but it has registered a 21% increase since then, adding 11,318 cases in the past week.

About 32% of the reported 614 deaths in the city happened in April alone. 

“Yogi Adityanath, the state’s chief minister, recently said there was no shortage of drugs, hospital beds or oxygen, but experts say the reality on the ground is vastly different,” the report mentioned.

Kabirdham in Chhattisgarh did not have any active cases of Covid-19 on 1 March. But it has added almost 3,000 cases in the past seven days.

Local journalists say that the district is not able to handle really sick patients as it did not prepare to manage the sharp uptick in cases. Several people have died without getting proper treatment in the district.

Bhagalpur and Aurangabad districts in Bihar are also badly hit.

Nainital, Uttarakhand is struggling to cope with the rising number of cases. At least 131 out of its 142 ICU beds were occupied on 27 April and only 10 out of its 771 oxygen beds were free. It has reported more than 4,000 cases and 82 deaths in the past week.

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