An inside picture of a Covid-19 ward in a state-run hospital in India’s Uttar Pradesh comes out as CNN’s chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward visits it to see the crisis first-hand. Uttar Pradesh is one of the country’s most populous states.
With about 55 beds for 100 patients, according to hospital staff, people can be seen everywhere — on stretchers, on tables, on the floor — moaning and desperate for oxygen. There are just five doctors. Some patients lie on the floor.
One of them, on the floor of the hospital for four days, struggling to breathe is a 32-year-old mother-of-two Kavita. She says she hasn’t received any oxygen and has seen 20 people die.
“I’m getting anxious,” she said. “I’m scared that I’ll stop breathing,” she said.
More than 2.5 million cases were reported in the past week due to a shortage of oxygen as it is a scarce commodity in India. Just a few hundred yards away in the same complex, orderly lines of people patiently waiting to be vaccinated following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement that anyone over the age of 18 can be inoculated.
CNN speaks to Dr. Somendra Tomar, an Uttar Pradesh state lawmaker who was among 600 people getting their vaccine.
Ward asks him why India has been hit so badly when the hospital administrator interrupts to say she is asking too many questions.
She follows up asking the lawmaker if he accepts the government of India has failed its people in the handling of this crisis.
Tomar responds by saying they are “working tirelessly around the clock” to find solutions including increasing the number of beds.
Back in the Covid-19 ward, Vishal Kashyap desperately tries to revive his 55-year-old mother, Rajbala, who was there for six days before she got a ventilator.
It would be more than an hour before her lifeless body is finally moved from the tightly packed room.