Home >Opinion >Quick Edit >Travail of two cities

Mumbai, India’s financial nerve centre, is in the grip of a vicious coronavirus outbreak that seems on the verge of overwhelming the city’s healthcare infrastructure. Corpses are reported to be lying unattended in hospital hallways. Doctors are under extreme duress, as they endure long hours and acute scarcities for the sake of covid-19 patients. Other health workers are at risk of contagion, too, and some nurses in the city went on protest over a delayed bed for one of their peers. The daily surge in corona cases has frayed their nerves, and it is evident that Mumbai is struggling to cope. Worse, covid-19 has played vampire, sucking away resources from other ailments. Even cardiac-arrest cases are reported to have been turned away by hospitals.

New Delhi, the national capital, appears to be faring only slightly better. Amid reports of a shortage of beds and hospitals shutting doors on patients, the Delhi government on Tuesday launched a mobile application that would give a hospital-wise live status of bed and ventilator availability. Anyone refused admission despite there being vacant beds can seek redressal via the app.

As the economy emerges from a two-month-long lockdown and as people begin to move about, the number of covid cases is only expected to rise. India is seeing a new high in corona-positive cases every day. This was perhaps to be expected, as the lockdown was only aimed at slowing the virus’s transmission so that authorities could get time to reinforce their healthcare systems. Sadly, this does not appear to have happened, as the grave situation in Mumbai suggests. Going by official figures, India has seen a relatively low mortality rate so far, with about 5,600 deaths among some 200,000 cases. But if the count does not give up its exponential rise and hospitals get overrun, the death toll could multiply. With two of our biggest business centres in crisis, a return to normalcy is difficult to contemplate. Let’s hope it peaks soon.


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