India’s death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 200,000 as a virus surge sweeps the country, rooted in so-called superspreader events that were allowed to happen in the months after India thought it had the pandemic under control.
Indian women perform rituals standing inside an artificial pond on the Chhat Puja festival, in Mumbai, India, Nov. 20, 2020. (AP Photo)
Fueling the catastrophe were a series of crowded events, like mass rallies by politicians such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, religious holidays and pilgrimages to the Ganges, where people relaxed their vigilance and didn't wear masks or maintain social distance.
Multiple funeral pyres of victims of COVID-19 burn at an area that has been converted into a crematorium for mass cremation in New Delhi, India, April 24, 2021.
The Health Ministry on Wednesday reported 3,293 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing India’s total fatalities to 201,187. The deaths and the confirmed cases of 17.9 million are thought to be undercounts.
A COVID-19 patient inside a car receives oxygen provided by a Gurdwara, a Sikh house of worship, in New Delhi, India, April 24, 2021.
Now the surge is sending its health system toward collapse. Hospitalizations and deaths have reached record highs. Patients are suffocating because hospitals are using up their oxygen supplies. Fires at overwhelmed crematoriums are lighting up night skies.
A man wearing a mask walks past an effigy of the coronavirus kept to be burnt as part of a ritual during the "Holi" festival in Mumbai, India, March 28, 2021.