Fear and Loss: Inside India’s Coronavirus Crisis

How did the country go from successfully containing the virus to having the worst outbreak in the world?

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At the beginning of this year, many people in India thought the worst of the pandemic was finished there. The government even sanctioned large events, including political rallies and a religious pilgrimage attended by millions.

An effective, but economically devastating, national lockdown last year kept numbers low.

But in the last few weeks, any sense of ease has given way to widespread fear. The country is suffering from the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world, with people being turned away from full hospitals and a scarcity of medical oxygen.

How did India get to this point?

On today’s episode

Jeffrey Gettleman, the South Asia bureau chief for The New York Times, based in New Delhi.

Background reading

In a dispatch from New Delhi, Jeffrey describes the fear of living amid a disease spreading at such scale and speed.

Fatalities have been overlooked or downplayed, understating the human toll of the country’s outbreak, which accounts for nearly half of all new cases in a global surge.

The new wave of the virus in India will hurt global efforts and vaccine supplies, experts say. And researchers are scrambling to assess whether new coronavirus variants are playing a role.

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Jeffrey Gettleman contributed reporting.

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