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“The second COVID-19 wave has come like a storm” says Prime Minister Modi. India is overwhelmed and has a new variant: B1617. This is really dangerous.

2021-04-22

According to NPR, India has been overrun by COVID-19, with daily case rates shooting up like a wall. The perfect storm has hit; hospitals are full and running out of oxygen. People are dying in the hospital parking lot and crematoriums can’t keep up.

Known daily cases has hit a world record, over 300,000, beating the US from January, and known deaths are over 2,250. The rate of cases and even deaths is widely believed to be a gross underestimate due to testing limitations and the death of many who have not been tested.

What is worse for the rest of the world, a new variant has appeared, B1617, with probable enhanced contagiousness, lethality, and ability to evade vaccination.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, 88, came down with the virus three weeks after being vaccinated. His condition is said to be “stable” as of Tuesday.

Read the report on NPR for the gory details. It’s free and there’s no ads. (Parenthetically, I have learned that you should use an ad blocker because some ads are now infected with malware, known as “malvertising”.)

This disaster has dangerous implications for the entire world. Just quarantining the country will not be enough; the country needs assistance to increase vaccination rates dramatically.

While India produces her own vaccine, said to be highly effective, she needs raw materials that are in short supply. The US needs to help with production– something we should all support. The pandemic cannot be controlled anywhere until it is controlled everywhere.

(photo: sars-cov-2 virions by EM: NIAID)

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