India's second COVID wave leaves suffering in its wake
India is in mourning as coronavirus ravages cities across the country. More than 300,000 new cases are currently being reported every day, with people pleading for beds and oxygen outside hospitals.
India sees its darkest days of pandemic
India has added hundreds of thousands of cases in recent days, and the total death toll has surpassed 220,000. Cities are running out of space to bury or cremate the dead.
COVID sufferers seek medical support at temples
An elderly woman suffering from breathing difficulties due to COVID-19 waits to receive free supplemental oxygen outside a Sikh temple on the outskirts of Delhi in Ghaziabad. Many who are struggling for breath due to COVID-19 have flocked to the temple, hoping to secure some of its limited oxygen supplies.
COVID patients turn to informal health services
Hospitals in Delhi and across the country are turning away patients after running out of medical oxygen and beds. Many have put out urgent notices saying they can't cope with the rush of patients. The Sikh temple in Ghaziabad has come to resemble the emergency ward of a hospital. People all across Delhi are seeking and creating makeshift health care spaces.
Doctors treating patients wherever possible
A health care worker tests blood oxygen levels of a COVID patient inside an ambulance in the eastern city of Kolkata. With people being forced to wait many hours to receive treatment, doctors have been treating people in cars and taxis parked in front of hospitals.
Suffering patients plead for oxygen
A couple wait inside a rickshaw until they can enter a COVID-19 hospital for treatment in the western city of Ahmedabad. Social media and local news footage have captured desperate relatives begging for oxygen outside hospitals or weeping in the street for loved ones who have died waiting for treatment.
India in mourning
A young boy at a crematorium mourns the loss of his father, who died from COVID-19. In the last month alone, daily COVID cases in India have increased eight times over — and deaths, 10 times. Health experts have said the actual death toll is probably far higher than the official numbers.
India's younger population also hit
This 35-year-old woman is suffering from breathing difficulties due to COVID-19. Like many others, she is waiting in front of a hospital to receive oxygen support. Scientists are concerned that a more infectious "double mutation" of the virus is spreading in India.
Second COVID wave 'supremely contagious'
The family of a COVID victim mourn together outside a mortuary of a hospital in New Delhi. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said India's current infection wave is "particularly dangerous" and that people were falling sick more severely and for longer. "It is supremely contagious, and those who are contracting it are not able to recover as swiftly."
'Swallowing our city's people like a monster'
The unfolding crisis is most noticeable in India's overwhelmed graveyards and crematoriums. Burial grounds in the capital New Delhi are running out of space. In other cities, glowing funeral pyres light up the night sky. "The virus is swallowing our city's people like a monster,'' said Mamtesh Sharma, an official at Bhadbhada Vishram Ghat crematorium in the central city of Bhopal.
Vaccine drive falling behind
India's vaccination program is lagging, with only 10% of the country's population having received one dose, and 1.5% having received both doses. Indians aged 18 and older are now eligible for a vaccine. The United States has said it would send raw materials for vaccine production to help strengthen India's capacity to manufacture more AstraZeneca vaccine.