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Indians suffer, die in the streets as overcrowded hospitals turn patients away

The COVID-19 disaster in India piled up huge new numbers again, passing 200,000 deaths overall. Many hospitals are overcrowded and underfunded, and have been forced to turn patients away. Ali Rogin has our report on India's ongoing crisis.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: The COVID crisis in India piled up huge new numbers again, passing 200,000 deaths overall.

    Ali Rogin has our report.

  • Ali Rogin:

    On Tuesday alone, India's official death toll spiked at almost 3,300, its deadliest day.

  • Manoj Garg (through translator):

    The situation is horrific, absolutely terrible. Everyone is afraid, every single person.

  • Ali Rogin:

    Outside crematoriums, ambulances now wait hours to off-load bodies. Workers hastily build new platforms to keep up with the volume.

    Amit Kaushik waited to cremate a relative.

  • Amit Kaushik:

    For cremation area, we searched two or three, but there are no spaces. And, finally, we came here. And we are waiting for the last two or three hours.

  • Ali Rogin:

    Those who can't find hospital beds suffer in the streets. Even inside ICUs, oxygen and other supplies remain scarce.

  • Dr. Aashish Chaudhry:

    I'm buying oxygen at the rate of gold. You know, it has — the situation has come to that level.

  • Ali Rogin:

    And while India hosts the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, it's running out of shots. At this vaccine center in Mumbai, hopeful recipients were turned away.

  • Pushpa Goswami (through translator):

    They are telling us that injections are not available, as vaccines have not arrived. I registered to come here three days ago.

  • Ali Rogin:

    As the situation worsened, the international community responded. On Tuesday, the first shipment of British aid arrived in New Delhi, including ventilators and oxygen tanks.

    The U.S. is now sending medical equipment and raw materials to make vaccines now. President Biden said Tuesday that doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will also be shipped.

    But Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come under fire for permitting super-spreader events like religious festivals and his own political rallies. Even as the current crisis grew, he urged against lockdowns.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi (through translator):

    Friends, in the current situation we have to save the country from another lockdown. I would also like to request states to only use lockdown as a last resort.

  • Ali Rogin:

    But in the capital city, New Delhi, the last resort has already arrived. Officials there just extended an existing lockdown until May.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Ali Rogin.

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