Fauci joins calls for nationwide lockdown to contain India’s Covid crisis

Fauci joins calls for nationwide lockdown to contain India's Covid crisis
Indians wait to refill oxygen cylinders for Covid-19 patients at a gas supplier facility in New Delhi on May 8. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India is under increasing pressure to impose a nationwide lockdown as India grapples with the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak.

On Monday, the Asian country with 1.4 billion population reported 366,161 new cases, its health ministry said — the first time daily coronavirus infections have dipped below 400,000 since May 6.

India’s total caseload is now more than twenty-two million since the pandemic began.

The health ministry also reported an additional 3,754 Covid-19 virus-related deaths on Monday, after two consecutive days of reporting more than 4,000 deaths.

India has now recorded 246,116 total Covid-19 deaths — which is among the highest in the world — with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington estimating that by August, India may have reached one million deaths.

The spiraling coronavirus crisis is stretching the country’s health care system beyond breaking point. Oxygen, medical workers and beds are in short supply. Some Covid-19 patients are dying in waiting rooms or outside overwhelmed hospitals and clinics, before they have even been seen by a doctor.

While more than half of Indian states and union territories have already implemented their own shutdowns to deal with the second wave of Covid-19, there are intensifying demands for India to impose a second national lockdown.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, top White House coronavirus adviser and the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Monday that he believed India should implement nationwide lockdown.

Fauci said in an interview with ABC television: “You’ve got to shut down. I believe several of the Indian states have already done that, but you need to break the chain of transmission, and one of the ways to do that is to shut down.”

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