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Grim Mishap Only Adds to India's COVID Woes

Oxygen supply got cut off to patients, killing 22
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2021 12:29 PM CDT

(Newser) – The COVID situation in India is bad, and a grim mishap now only adds to the somber headlines coming out of the country. An accident at a hospital in the western state of Maharashtra that was treating COVID patients ended in the deaths of 22 of them, reports the AP. The New York Times reports the hospital's primary oxygen tank developed a leak that choked the supply of oxygen to dozens of patients. It has this line: "Televised images showed family members wailing in the wards and nurses frantically pounding on the chests of some patients." The AP describes other televised images of white fumes in the area of the hospital that caused panic. Oxygen shortages in general have been a problem of late in the country, which on Wednesday reported a record-high 295,041 new cases and saw 2,000 deaths for the first time.

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India's overall total stands at 15.6 million cases and 182,553 deaths—though the Financial Times makes the case that deaths are being significantly underreported. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has yet to declare a lockdown, but some cities and states are making that move regardless. The Times reports Modi's stance is spurring accusations of a double standard, as he has not called for the cancelation of the months-long Hindu Kumbh Mela festival, which has turned into a superspreader event and saw 70,000 attendees on Wednesday. Some 10 million people have participated in the festival since January, compared to a few thousand Islamic preachers who met at a New Delhi seminary that was subsequently shut down as a result. (Read more India stories.)

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