Why is India’s second wave devastating? Jabran Ali Khan
That kind of situation, where we don’t keep social distancing, will usually keep coming back to hurt you. There are other reasons. If you look at second waves historically, they’ve always been more aggressive and bigger in number than the first. The intensity this time round, though, is more about the overbearing requirement for people to have two things. Firstly, the need to get into a hospital and have a bed with oxygen where they can feel a bit secure. And secondly, the amount of anxiety that comes from not getting a bed.
That has been the overwhelming sentiment of most people who may or may not need hospitalisation, but feel it is the most secure place for them.
Does India have enough medical infrastructure for its vast population? Ealias in Singapore
This underinvestment in public healthcare is a long-running issue. Successive governments have not made it a priority.
In smaller cities, towns and rural areas, the situation is particularly bad. Hospitals have inadequate equipment and staff. In some parts of the country, people have to travel miles to get to any kind of medical services.
How is the Indian government addressing the crisis? Sri in US
In Delhi, there are centralised helpline numbers which people have been asked to call if they need a hospital bed. But in reality, it is next to impossible to get one in the city because facilities are so overrun.
People are angry. When we’ve met families of Covid patients, they’ve been asking: “Where is the government? What is it doing?”
Many are asking why the military and disaster response teams have not been pulled in to build field hospitals on a war footing.
There is a sense of abandonment in the country, of people being left to fend for themselves.
With about a billion people in India, shouldn’t their daily deaths total be much lower per population than in the UK? Mike
The number of cases has fallen by 97% in the UK since the peak in January, while cases are still climbing sharply in India. The people who are dying in India today were infected weeks ago and the huge surge in the virus since then is likely to lead to a similar surge in deaths.
How can we help from the UK? Kate in UK
British Indian doctors tell us they’re providing advice and support to healthcare officials on the phone, with some arguing they’re more experienced in Covid after dealing with several surges of the virus over here.
Temples are also hosting special prayers for India to provide Hindu worshippers with a place to go and think about their loved ones. One Indian woman who has parents in Delhi told us: “I have little money, so all I can do is pray.”
Why can’t India apply the same method of producing oxygen that some places in Africa use, even when they have no electricity? G. Doyle
You will do the right thing by asking for more oxygen or preparing for future patients – but these processes take time, no matter what the modes of production.
When you have an overwhelming situation and the need is so high, there will be disparity between what is available and what can be delivered. Oxygen is something that needs to be looked at, calculated and prepared for – just like every other resource. It has to be done in particular time so you can provide needs for all patients who come to you.
But there is a lot of media focus on oxygen when there is also a clear requirement for nurses, ward attendants, doctors and medical staff; I see that in every walk of life, not just hospitals but also in community centres and primary health care centres.
How far has India been able to immunise its citizens? Moses Bomboka, Uganda
So far vaccines are available to those over the age of 45. From 1 May, they will be available to everyone over 18 years of age. But it’s unclear what stock of vaccines India currently has, and how quickly it will be able to vaccinate people.
What are the political implications for the Modi government over its handling of this crisis? Poorvika, London
There is a lot of anger against politicians and the system, including bureaucrats, officials and health officials.
What is the situation like in the state of Punjab? B Singh, Yorkshire, UK
“Mostly, people ignore the initial symptoms and reach out for healthcare when their situation deteriorates.”
If India prioritises using its vaccines domestically over exporting them, will that affect the UK’s inoculation process? Adam, UK
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is being made by the Serum Institute in India, but that vaccine is also being made in the UK and on continental Europe.
Bharat BiotechCovaxin, CoraVax
Biological EJohnson & Johnson
Hetero BiopharmaSputnik V
Dr Reddy’s LabSputnik V
Source: Media reports
Is the Covid 19 strain different in India and the UK, and why are so many dying so quickly? Joan, UK
The B117 variant (that’s the one that was first detected in the UK) is able to spread more quickly and is in India. There is also a new variant (B1617), which was first detected in India in October. However, exactly how widespread it is, and how big a role it may be playing in the surge is cases, is still being investigated.
How much longer can the supply of dry wood for cremations last? Surely burials will be needed or are these not accepted on religious grounds. Anon, New Zealand
Vikas Pandey, India editor, BBC News website, answers:We haven’t heard about the shortage of dry wood for cremations at the moment. And that is not really difficult to procure. So we haven’t seen a shortage of wood fire, but shortages of space.
Now cremations are happening in parking lots of funeral grounds and in public parks.
The burial grounds used by the minority Muslim community are also full.
Produced by, Georgina Rannard, Dhruti Shah and Kris Bramwell