Aishwarya Tandon knew that her grandmother, feverish and breathless, had COVID-19.
But no hospital would admit her without already having a positive coronavirus test, which was hard to come by.
"We were basically just going to hospitals door-to-door, and nobody was helping us," said Tandon, 28. "There were literally no leads. You really had to plead (with) people."
As India reels from a new variant and a second wave of COVID-19, its health care system is overwhelmed. And so are its citizens, grappling with the physical, mental and emotional onslaught of caretaking and loss.
The nation of nearly 1.4 billion reported more than 400,000 daily new cases several times over the course of the month, shattering global records. Public health professionals estimate the true infection numbers could be 10 times higher than the official reports.