The COVID-19 disaster continues in India with a record number of people infected and a record one-day death.
International aid is on the way, but that is little solace for members of the local Indian community, whose loved ones are in the midst of what one doctor describes as “hell”.
The Department of Health has reported 3,300 more deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths from this second wave of COVID-19 to more than 200,000.
“I get about 50 calls a day, someone asking for beds, someone asking for bottles, someone asking for drugs. We have nothing available and patients are dying, ”said intensive care physician Dr Piush Girdar.
Gagandeep Kaur runs Indian restaurant Mehfil in San Francisco, but his mind is 20,000 km away with his friends and family in New Delhi.
“It’s like a heartbreaking time for us,” she said. “If you talk to any of the Indian families or Indian friends, we all want to see them, we all want to help them, but it’s like a very difficult time.”
Health care systems are overwhelmed and on the verge of collapse, and frontline workers see no end in sight.
“This pandemic is the worst we have ever seen so far. And these two weeks are going to be hell for us,” said Dr Shaarang Sachdev, chief of emergency medicine.
The Allies are urgently stepping up their response. A shipment out of Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield Wednesday afternoon, one of many from the United States, included oxygen cylinders, N-95 masks and rapid COVID tests.
India reported more than 362,000 new infections on Wednesday, a new world record in one day, bringing the total to nearly 18 million.