On Wednesday (April 28), India's Covid-19 death toll surpassed 200,000, as a record number of new cases of the virus exacerbated shortages of oxygen, medical supplies, and hospital personnel.
For the past week, at least 300,000 people a day have tested positive in India's second wave of Covid-19 infections, overwhelming healthcare facilities and crematoriums and prompting an increasingly urgent international response.
360,960 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, the world's highest single-day number, bringing India's total to nearly 18 million. The death toll now stands at 201,187, with 3,293 deaths on the deadliest day so far.
Experts say the official tally greatly understates the true death toll in the 1.3 billion-strong world.
Ambulances queued for hours in the capital, New Delhi, to transport Covid-19 victims to temporary crematoriums set up in parks and parking lots, where bodies were burned on rows of funeral pyres.
Coronavirus patients, many of whom were gasping for air, flocked to a Sikh temple on the outskirts of town, hoping to get some of the scant oxygen supplies available there.
A fire at a hospital on the outskirts of Mumbai early Wednesday killed four people and injured several others, according to police.
Hospital accidents have been a major source of concern for the country, which is running out of beds and oxygen. A fire broke out at a hospital treating Covid-19 patients last week, and 22 people died as a result of a leaking oxygen tank at another hospital.
Supplies of life-saving oxygen and supplies, including ventilators and oxygen concentrators from the United Kingdom, have started to arrive in New Delhi, with more on the way from Ireland, Germany, and Australia.
Several countries have halted flights from India in order to prevent the spread of more virulent strains of the virus.
President Joe Biden said he had a long conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about when the US would be able to ship vaccines to India, and that it was his firm intention to do so.
"I believe we will be able to share vaccines as well as know-how with other countries that are in desperate need. That is the expectation and hope "On Tuesday, he told reporters at the White House.
Ms. Gayle Smith, the US State Department's global Covid-19 response coordinator, cautioned that India's task will take a long-term effort: "We must all recognize that we are still in the early stages of this phase. This hasn't reached its apex yet."