India is now the COVID epicenter, US plans to send medical supplies

A patient wearing an oxygen mask is wheeled inside a COVID-19 hospital for treatment, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ahmedabad, India, April 26, 2021. Photo by REUTERS/Amit Dave

For four straight days, India has broken the global daily record for new coronavirus cases, but experts say the actual number of new infections could be much higher. The country’s health care system is collapsing. Hospitals are running out of oxygen and morgues are full. 

This is a perfect storm of multiple factors: a new double mutant variant in the country, surging superspreader events, and a sense of complacency among the Indian government. That’s all according to the Atlantic staff writer Yasmeen Serhan.

India is home to the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, but it does not yet have the supply to fully inoculate its 1.3 billion residents. The Biden administration announced on Sunday that it plans to send the country more medical aid.

“This pandemic doesn't end anywhere until it ends everywhere,” Serhan tells KCRW. “So long as there's an outbreak where variants are allowed to emerge and spread, there will be a threat.”