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India’s Covid Calamity cares for the sick: ‘Alone to save my family’

NEW DELHI – Days before Nikita Goel had planned to get married, she and five family members tested positive for coronavirus, including her parents and an 86-year-old grandfather. “I felt like a roof had fallen,” she said.

Her father and grandfather soon fought for every breath, and Mrs. Goel, who suffered from fever and coughing fits, was the one sent to find help from an overwhelmed health system that was collapsing around her. “I suddenly felt like I was alone in the world, alone to save my family,” said Mrs Goel, 28.

The wave of Covid-19 celebrating India has hit hard and suddenly, shutting down entire families and neighborhoods and in many cases leaving the sick to take care of the sick. The still healthy ones risk infection in overcrowded pharmacies, clinics and hospitals trying to find medicine and medical help for their loved ones.

Mrs Goel and her family live in Bareilly, a city in India̵

7;s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, which has among the highest number of Covid-19 cases of any state in India. The nation has a vaccination rate of 1.9% and on Sunday reported more than 3,600 deaths and 390,000 new cases, figures that public health experts say they are likely to subordinate tolls because so many people die outside overcrowded hospitals.

After hitting a virus tension last year, India was unprepared for the scale of the current outbreak, especially in states like Uttar Pradesh, which has a population of 237 million. Doctors say beds are full, staff and oxygen are lacking, and medicines to treat Covid-19 are not available. The state government acknowledged that its hospitals have maximum capacity and that Covid-19 cases among medical staff have hindered efforts to treat the sick, but it rejected reports of oxygen deficiency and any undercounting of deaths.

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