India’s Covid-19 Crisis: What to Know and Where to Donate

Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

Right now, if you were to have a heart attack in India, there’s no guarantee you’d get a hospital bed. And if things took another turn for the worse, your body would likely eventually end up in a crematorium’s mass grave. This is the reality for the 1.4 billion people who make up the world’s second-most populous nation, which is just barely staying afloat while battling Covid-19. As of Friday, when cases hit an eighth continuous global record, roughly 3,000 people are dying each day. Experts caution that figure is a severe undercount. Like the daily case rate, which hit 383,000 on Friday, is too.

While countries like the U.S. have shifted their focus to vaccination, India is still having trouble producing enough tests. And since India is the world’s leading vaccine producer, the vaccine shortage has carried over to continents like Africa. The other dire shortage is oxygen, which is in increasingly short supply and can take days to reach those in need. The U.S., which will impose restrictions on travel from India next week, has begun responding with oxygen cylinder, mask, and test kit deliveries. You can pitch in, too. Here’s where to get started.

What to Read

Mass Vaccination, India’s Covid-19 Escape Route, Poses a Giant Challenge,” by Sameer Yasir, Shashank Bengali and Rick Gladstone for the New York Times

Three Times reporters explains why India may not be able to vaccinate itself out of the crisis.

“Inside a Delhi Hospital, Oxygen Runs Fatally Short as Covid Cases Mount,” by Joanna Slater and Shams Irfan for the Washington Post

The Washington Post visits one of Delhi’s largest private hospitals, which recently issued no less than four emergency appeals for oxygen in 24 hours.

“As Covid-19 Devastates India, Deaths Go Undercounted,” by Jeffrey Gettleman, Sameer Yasir, Hari Kumar and Suhasini Raj for the New York Times

The Times explains why so many fatalities have been downplayed and overlooked.

“We Spoke to a Cremator at the Center of India’s COVID Hell,” by Suprakash Majumdar for Vice

“I used to cremate three to five bodies every day before the pandemic, but after this second wave, I am cremating more than 15 bodies a day alone,” a 20-year-old who works at New Delhi’s largest crematorium, Nigambodh Ghat, told Vice World News. “I don’t feel anything when I see a dead body. Maybe I don’t want to feel anything. I drink two bottles of beer every day before coming to work.”

Where to Donate

Amid all the chaos, many in India have turned to social media in their efforts to track down funds and emergency supplies like oxygen cylinders. You can find a regularly updated list in the Google doc below. As for nonprofits and other organizations, make sure to check a site like Charity Navigator to make sure it’s the best way to provide support. “A LOT (realistically all) of us have benefitted and perhaps profited off of India’s land, culture, people in some way,” the yogi Chloe Kernaghan noted on Instagram. “Time to show up.”

  • GiveIndia, a platform raising $1,000,000 million to address oxygen supply with the help of Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas. Efforts include setting up oxygen generation plants and supplying oxygen concentrators, cylinders, and refills.
  • Care India, which is focusing on Bihar, one of the poorest and most populous areas of India.
  • From U2Them, a nonprofit with a crowfunding campaign to send thousands of oxygen concentrators to Mumbai.
  • Youth Feed India and Helping Hands Charitable Trust, which make kits that can feed a family of four for up to 15 days.
  • India Support Google Doc Network, a highly specific compilation of requests from Indians in need.