''THERE is currently little or no chance of admission to hospitals for people with Covid-19, but also for people with other intensive care needs,'' read a warning just issued by the German Embassy in New Delhi, referring to the disease caused by the coronavirus.

NEW DELHI : Her baby was coming but no treatment center in New Delhi gave aid : Neelam Kumari Gautam woke up at 3.a.m. with shooting labor pains.

Her husband put her gently into the back of a rickshaw and motored with her to a hospital. Then another. Then another. Her pain was so intense she could barely breathe, but none would take her.

''Why are the doctors not taking me in?'' she asked her husband, Bijendra Singh, over and over again. ''What's the matter? I will die.''

Mr. Singh began to panic. He knew what he was up against. As India's coronavirus crisis has accelerated - India is now reporting more infections a day than any other nation except the United States and Brazil - the country's already strained and underfunded health care system has begun to buckle.

A database of recent deaths reveals that scores of people have died in the streets or in the back of ambulances, denied critical care.

Ms. Gautman's odyssey through eight different hospitals in 10 hours in India's biggest metropolitan area serves as a devastating window into what is actually happening in the country.

Indian government rules explicitly call for emergency services to be rendered, but still people in desperate need of treatment are turned away, especially in New Delhi, the capital.

After watching reports on Indian television showing dead bodies in the lobby of a government hospital and crying patients being ignored, a panel of judges on India's Supreme Court said, ''The situation in New Delhi is horrendous, horrific and pathetic.''

The bigger picture is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is struggling with overlapping crises.

Last week and more, Chinese troops beat 20 Indian soldiers to death along their disputed border in the Himalayas, triggering the most dangerous showdown between two nuclear powers in decades.

At the same time, India's economy is nose-diving, and the coronavirus pandemic has cost this country more than 100 million jobs.

Desperate to turn the economy around, Mr. Modi has rejected health experts counsel that the country be put back under lockdown, saying that India must ''unlock, unlock, unlock.''

For this very sad publishing, The World Students Society thanks authors, Jeffrey Gettleman and Sushasini Raj.


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