India is in crisis. Hospitals have run out of supplies, family members are desperately driving from clinic to clinic in search of a spare bed for their loved ones, and mass cremations are a daily occurrence, as hundreds of thousands more people are infected with Covid-19 each day.
The country has reported more than 17.6 million cases since the pandemic began. But the real number, experts fear, could be up to 30 times higher — meaning more than half a billion infections.
The daily death toll is projected to keep climbing until mid-May, at which point it could peak at more than 13,000 a day — more than four times Tuesday’s 2,771 death toll — according to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations. When it comes to overall deaths, experts believe India’s true toll could be close to 990,000, not the current figure of 198,000, due to the country’s underfunded health infrastructure which has historically struggled to count its dead, Jessie Yeung reports.
The United States said Monday that it will share millions of doses of its stockpiled AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. While White House officials did not say which countries will get the shots, the move follows global pressure to include India.
Countries such as the US have been lining up in recent days to send medical supplies to India, but some fear it may not be enough to help halt the country’s enormous second wave. “It is a drop in an ocean,” Mumbai-based Dr. Zarir Udwadia told the BBC on Tuesday, after the United Kingdom donated ventilators.
Udwadia added that the US’s AstraZeneca stockpile should come to India because “the country needs 2 billion doses at the very least,” but the world’s biggest vaccine producer, the Serum Institute of India, based in Pune, is struggling to keep up with demand.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Q. How do I get my Covid-19 vaccination added to my medical record?
A: Being given a vaccination card after getting your Covid-19 immunization doesn’t necessarily mean the shot will be listed in your medical records. One simple way to fix that is to give a copy of the card to your primary care doctor.
If you live in the US, here are some other ways to update your records.
Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
New CDC mask guidance to be announced by Biden
President Joe Biden is expected to announce today that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidance for wearing masks outdoors, three people familiar with the expected announcement said. The Biden administration is also expected to outline several other new recommendations for fully vaccinated people, in addition to “unmasking outdoors,” a federal official told CNN.
This comes as Michigan grapples with a surge in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations, prompting state officials to expand its mask mandate to include children as young as 2. The mandate, which went into effect Monday, requires children aged 2 to 4 to wear face masks while in public spaces, including at day care and camps.
EU sues AstraZeneca after vaccine delivery delays
The European Union said Monday it is suing AstraZeneca over an alleged breach of its vaccine supply contract, a dramatic escalation of a months-long dispute over delivery delays that has hampered the rollout of shots across the continent, James Frater and Angela Dewan report.
The EU’s 27 nations ordered 300 million doses of the drugmaker’s Covid-19 vaccine, to be delivered by the end of June, with an option to purchase an additional 100 million. But shipments repeatedly fell short, sparking a bitter public fight over the terms of the contract.
A vaccine maker ruined 15 million doses. Its CEO sold $11 million of stock before the news broke
Emergent BioSolutions’ stock has lost more than half of its value since the disclosure that it ruined as many as 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine at its Baltimore plant. But the company’s CEO dumped more than $11 million worth of stock ahead of the massive decline. If Robert Kramer had held onto the nearly 100,000 shares he has sold so far this year, they would be worth about $5 million less than the price for which he sold them, Chris Isidore reports.
ON OUR RADAR
- An Alaska state lawmaker who called flight attendants “mask bullies” and clashed with airline employees on video over mask rules has been banned from Alaska Airlines.
- The UK’s Prime Minister has denied allegations he said he would rather “let the bodies pile high in their thousands” than impose further lockdowns, after unnamed sources told the Daily Mail newspaper that he had made the comment last October.
- There has been a major coronavirus outbreak among US diplomatic staff in India with two locally-employed staff dying and more than 100 people testing positive for the virus in recent weeks.
- Canada has deployed the military to Ontario amid a worsening Covid-19 wave there that has caused the province’s positivity rate to hit an all-time high.
TODAY’S TOP TIP
Have you recently had the single-shot Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine?
Get medical attention quickly if you suffer persistent, severe headaches, blurred vision, shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain or unusual bruising within three weeks of getting the J&J vaccine, the CDC said Monday.
Those could be signs of an extremely rare, severe blood clotting syndrome that may be linked to the shot. The risk appears greatest for women under the age of 50, the CDC said. Read more.
“It’s a horrible situation. It’s as if the government has completely abdicated its responsibility” — Tehseen Poonawalla, a political commentator in India.
India is fighting a devastating second wave of Covid-19 that has ravaged communities and hospitals across the country. In today’s episode, Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains what went wrong and why, as world citizens, we must urgently respond. Listen now.