Coronavirus Infections Surge In India, Double In South Africa

Coronavirus Infections Surge In India, Double In South Africa
South Africa and India are seeing spikes in coronavirus cases. Poorer countries are facing a lack of equipment and space to care for patients.

Coronavirus cases in South Africa have doubled in just two weeks, and India is seeing its biggest daily increase yet. 

These rising case numbers are highlighting challenges for poorer countries during the pandemic. Wealthy countries are stockpiling medical equipment for private hospitals, while public hospitals in poor countries are unable to obtain needed resources.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, public hospitals are also seeing a higher proportion of deaths compared to private hospitals. 

Africa's public hospitals are running short on oxygen concentrators that are needed to help patients short of breath. Some COVID-19 patients have been forced to heated tents in the hospital parking lots, though the country is in the midst of a cold front.

Meanwhile, patients are also crowding into public hospitals in India, with many unable to afford private care.

In the state of Delhi, which includes the capital city of New Delhi, patients have died after being turned away from COVID-designated hospitals that were filled to capacity. This has led to 500 railway cars being converted into makeshift hospital wards. 

Cases in India have been doubling each of the last three weeks.

Both India and South Africa are also facing shortages of healthcare workers. Half of the 8,000 medical professionals across Africa have been infected with the virus. New Dehli's health minister says a lack of "trained and experienced" staff is a major challenge.

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 12.5 million people have been infected with the virus globally and over 560,000 have died. India ranks third in the world in COVID-cases and South Africa 11th.