The situation in India is only getting worse with record highs for COVID19 cases being reported for over 2 weeks straight.
On Monday, there were another 370,000 coronavirus infections to take the overall number of cases to just close to 22.7 million, and more than 3,700 new deaths.
Experts warn that the actual number of cases and fatalities could be much higher.
Now the pandemic has taken a strange twist with current and recovering COVID-19 patients in India contracting a deadly and rare fungal infection.
Mucormycosis, dubbed "black fungus" by doctors in India, is usually most aggressive in patients whose immune systems are weakened by other infections.
In the western state of Maharashtra and Gujurat 300 cases have been detected.
The western state has ordered government hospitals to set up separate treatment wards for patients infected with "black fungus" amid a spike in cases.
"Mucormycosis -- if uncared for -- may turn fatal," the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), the scientific agency leading the government's response, said in a treatment chart released on Twitter.
Evidence based Advisory in the time of #COVID-19 (𝐒𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐃𝐢𝐚𝐠𝐧𝐨𝐬𝐢𝐬 & 𝐌𝐚𝐧𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐌𝐮𝐜𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐲𝐜𝐨𝐬𝐢𝐬) @MoHFW_INDIA @PIB_India @COVIDNewsByMIB @MIB_India #COVID19India #IndiaFightsCOVID19 #mucormycosis #COVID19Update pic.twitter.com/iOGVArojy1— ICMR (@ICMRDELHI) May 9, 2021
COVID-19 sufferers more susceptible to contracting the fungal infection include those with uncontrolled diabetes.
Treatment involves surgical removal of dead and infected tissue and running a course of anti-fungal therapy.
The treatment is pricey and the treatment drugs was also running short in government hospitals due to the sudden surge in cases.
There are increasing calls for the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to put the nation into lock down mode as hospitals run out of oxygen and beds amidst COVID19 crisis.
The opposition party's Sonia Gandhi took aim at the BJP for leaving vaccinations upto individual states and not carrying out the vaccinations themselves.
The most important need is to rapidly expand vaccination coverage & ensure that no eligible citizen gets left out. INC stands prepared to work with the Union government in this most important and urgent of tasks: Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi at CWC meeting#COVID19India pic.twitter.com/beqZb55Rwd— Congress (@INCIndia) May 10, 2021
International support from countries such as the US, Canada, and UK has poured in with oxygen cylinders and concentrators, ventilators and other medical equipment.
Photo courtesy of Istock.