Officials said that twenty-two COVID-19 patients on ventilators died in a hospital in western India on Wednesday after their oxygen supply was cut off due to a supply line leak.
The supply of oxygen to other patients has since been restored, according to Suraj Mandhar, the district collector.
Sanjay Bairagi, a fire officer, said the leak was stopped in 15 minutes by the fire department, but there was a supply disruption at the Zakir Hussain Hospital in Nashik, Maharashtra, which has been hit hardest by the recent surge in coronavirus cases in the region.
White fumes were seen circulating throughout the hospital area on television, sparking panic.
A leak occurred in a pipe connecting the oxygen supply to the main tank in the hospital complex, according to Surinder Sonone, a police officer.
He said five of the 140 COVID-19 patients were transferred to another hospital.
According to state Health Minister Rajesh Tope, the state government has ordered an inquiry into the leak.
The daily death toll in India has surpassed 2000 for the first time, with 295,041 coronavirus cases recorded.
Despite the fact that hospitals are failing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned state governments against enforcing a harsh lockdown in favor of micro-containment zones on Tuesday in an effort to prevent another economic downturn.
The increase in India has worsened the global vaccination campaign slowdown.
India is a major vaccine manufacturer, but it has had to postpone vaccine deliveries in order to meet domestic demand.
Since mid-January, India has administered over 130 million vaccine doses to a population of nearly 1.4 billion people.
India has registered over 15.6 million confirmed cases in total, second only to the United States.
On Wednesday, there had been 182,553 deaths.
“The amount is enormous,” said Jalil Parkar, a senior pulmonary consultant at Mumbai’s Lilavati Hospital, which had to transform its lobby into a COVID ward.
“It’s the equivalent of a tsunami.”
“Things have gotten out of hand,” said Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the New Delhi-based Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy.
“There isn’t any oxygen. A hospital bed is difficult to come by. Getting a test is difficult.
You’ll have to wait for more than a week. Almost every system in the healthcare system that could fail has already failed “he said
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the country, admitting that India is fighting a “very big war” against COVID-19.
Even as the capital, New Delhi, began the first full day of a week-long lockdown, he urged states to “use a lockdown as their last choice.”
Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi Chief Minister, warned on Monday that failing to halt movement in the city could result in “tragedy.”
“We don’t want to bring Delhi to a point where people are dying on the streets and patients are lying in hospital corridors,” Kejriwal said.
He cautioned on Tuesday that some Delhi hospitals were “left with just a few hours of oxygen,” as authorities rushed to turn sports complexes, banquet halls, hotels, and schools into much-needed treatment centers, with the aim of adding 6000 additional beds in days.
“Our healthcare system is at its breaking point. It is now in a bad situation. It has not collapsed yet but it is in distress,” Kejriwal said.
“Every healthcare system has its own set of constraints. There is no machine that can handle an infinite number of patients.”
Local and state officials appealed to the federal government for more oxygen and drugs as shortages were recorded throughout the country.
On Tuesday, Modi appeared to answer those calls, announcing plans to deliver 100,000 oxygen cylinders across the country, as well as new oxygen production plants and hospitals dedicated to COVID-19 patients.
However, experts believe it is too little, too late, as positive patients compete for scarce resources and mass events threaten to further spread the virus.