Why did vacuum cleaners fail in India

There is more and more talk of a tsunami when talking about the second wave to hit India. A particularly cruel tsunami in super slow motion, because at the moment you can only see part of the catastrophe that it could leave behind. On Sunday, the Indian Ministry of Health reported 349,691 new infections, more than a third of all infections worldwide. 2767 people died. And with this new record number you probably have to take into account a high number of unreported cases because there is insufficient testing.

You have to put the numbers into perspective insofar as, for example, Germany has more infections to complain about in relation to the number of inhabitants. The death rate is also higher, at just over 200 per day, when applied to the total population. But at the moment we don't know how high the numbers in India actually are and where they are going. In addition, there is the more dangerous coronavirus mutant B.1.617, which goes through the country.

In any case, these speculations are currently being suppressed by the catastrophes of everyday life. The shortage of oxygen in particular led to terrible scenes in front of and in many hospitals. Patients wait in front of the gates for emergency bunk beds until a bed inside becomes free again because someone has died. On TV pictures you can see people sharing oxygen bottles to bridge the gap. Weeping and desperate people who lose loved ones while waiting.

The new wave has not yet reached its peak

In many places the oxygen is completely used up. Patients choked on the ventilators. The weekly magazine India Today reported from a hospital in Amritsar, a metropolis in the Punjab region, where six people died in a private clinic on Saturday due to a lack of oxygen, "although we have repeatedly asked the district administration for more help," said Sunil Devgan, director of the "Neelkanth" -Hospital, India Today said. The health authority rejected the allegations and said that only inquiries had been made in a Whatsapp group.

Bikram Singh Majithia, a former Punjab cabinet member and now in the opposition as the leader of a center-right party in the state, accused the regional government: "It is clear that the minister has failed to take the lead. He seems satisfied with it to be locked in his yard while the state burns. " The political blame begins before the new wave of contagion has reached its peak. The fact that election campaigns are currently taking place in five states has certainly contributed to the aggravation of the situation.

Mass cremations occur in makeshift crematoria. The pictures are reminiscent of the scenes from Bergamo last year, when the military had to transport the dead from the Italian city for burial. The Indian government is now using special trains to distribute oxygen to the hospitals in the vast country. One of the trains brought 30,000 liters of oxygen in tanks from a steelworks to Lucknow, the 2.8 million-inhabitant city in the north of the country, where the "Oxygen Express" arrived at dusk. From there, armed security forces escorted him to hospitals, such as the one Guardian reported on Sunday night.

The Indian Air Force stands ready to distribute oxygen. Lucknow is one of the hardest hit cities, with overcrowded hospitals and crematoria. The oxygen that has now reached the city is estimated to be enough for half a day.

The US wants to help

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi had used the "vaccination rollout" in his own country, the delivery of vaccines "Made in India" to poorer countries and other good news that could be associated with his name in connection with the pandemic to promote the personality cult to advance their own cause. India must now hope for help from abroad to deal with the disaster immediately.

According to Reuters news agency, the US government plans to send hospital staff and nurses to the hardest-hit cities in India. "We are active in talks at the highest level," said a White House spokeswoman. Traditionally, India and the USA are united by their common major enemy, China. Chancellor Angela Merkel also announced aid for the country. "We are preparing a support mission as soon as possible," tweeted spokesman Steffen Seibert on her behalf.

The Indian government meanwhile asked those responsible for the social network Twitter to delete tweets that criticized the poor handling of the new Covid-19 outbreak. Twitter responded to the call. Narendra Modi spoke up in a radio address on Sunday. "We were in high spirits after having acted successfully in the first wave," said the Indian Prime Minister, "but this storm is shaking the nation." Even if the tougher lockdown measures, enacted too late and not tough enough, should take effect, it will probably take at least three weeks for the numbers to peak.