Covid-19 in India: Patients struggle at home as hospitals choke
As hospitals in SLOT Delhi and many other cities run out of beds, people have been forced to find ways to get treatment for sick patients at home. Many have turned to the black market, where prices of essential medicines, oxygen cylinders and concentrators have skyrocketed and questionable drugs are now proliferating.
On Monday, India recorded a new global high for daily coronavirus cases for a fifth straight day at 352, 991.
Anshu Priya could not get a hospital bed in Delhi or its suburb of Noida for her father-in-law and as his condition continued to deteriorate. She spent most of Sunday looking for an oxygen cylinder but her search was futile.
So she finally turned to the black market. She paid a hefty amount – 50,000 rupees ($670; £480) – to procure a cylinder that normally costs 6,000 rupees. With her mother-in-law also struggling to breathe, Anshu knew she may not be able to find or afford another cylinder on the black market.
This is a familiar story not just in Delhi but also in Noida, Lucknow, Allahabad, Indore and so many other cities where families are desperately cobbling together makeshift arrangements at home.
But most of India’s population cannot afford to do this. There are already several reports of people dying at the doorsteps of hospitals because they couldn’t afford to buy essential drugs and oxygen on the black market.
The BBC called several oxygen cylinder suppliers and most of them asked for at least 10 times more than the normal price.
The situation is particularly dire in Delhi where there are no ICU beds left. Families of those who can afford it are hiring nurses and consulting doctors remotely to keep their loved ones breathing.