The second wave of Covid in India has been nothing short of a catastrophe. As Covid patients and their families run from pillar to post for care, there is a shortage of everything that stands between life and death. The ground reportage of our grantees through their heart-wrenching stories, tell it like it is. Yet, some of them are trolled on social media for ‘insensitivity’ and ‘negativity’ with a view to block or discredit straightforward, honest journalism. Far from being disheartened by such snide comments, our grantees only take it as a challenge and carry on with their reporting.

Whether it is The Caravan report from a cremation ground in Delhi, or Mojo Story from Hindon in UP’s Ghaziabad or the many other ground reports of Independent media that seek to capture the desperate state of Covid victims, their families, healthcare and civic workers, the coverage has helped set the agenda for some of the mainstream media, hesitant in mirroring the true picture. The stories of our grantees bring home the plight of ordinary citizens - failed by the state and the woeful inadequacies of the long-neglected healthcare infrastructure in India.

Faced with shortages and staggering numbers seeking immediate attention, hospitals, doctors, and staff at the frontlines of the fightback against Covid are clearly fighting the odds. The Bastion speaks to Padma Shri awardee, Dr Arvinder Singh Soin, Chairman of the Medanta Institute of Liver Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine in Gurgaon, to understand how hospitals are coping with the biggest healthcare challenge of our times.

Until recently, India was dubbed the ‘vaccine supplier to the world’. Now, we are struggling to vaccinate our own citizens. ThePrint argues that the “volleyball” between the Centre and the states on critical issues is adding to the tally of lives lost to the pandemic. While health may be a state subject, there are critical aspects that have to be managed by the Centre. But the lines of accountability are rapidly blurring. It would be tragic if India were to lose the Covid battle because politics stood in the way of overcoming the capacity challenges in our healthcare system.

And, amidst the crippling oxygen shortage, Down To Earth explains why the element is so life-giving and vital for Covid patients; and Alt News finds that some of the images of mass cremations of Covid victims posted on social media are from past events.

For a selection of the stories from our grantees on the debilitating second wave of the pandemic, and other stories, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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On the spot: Old Seemapuri, Delhi

The Caravan reports on the scenes from a cremation ground in Delhi where families recount their struggles of approaching hospital after hospital for a bed for their Covid-afflicted family members to no avail. Even oxygen, ventilators and medicines are in short supply, so is the right to a cremation with dignity.

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Ghaziabad's Cremation Ground is Proof: More people are dying than COVID data tells you

Mojo Story reports from the Hindon cremation ground in Ghaziabad, UP, on the state of families of Covid victims. The report concludes that not only has the system not been able to measure up to the challenges that the second wave has posed, but the transparency in reporting of Covid cases has also not been above board.

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Dialling 102: How Are Private Hospitals Dealing with the COVID-19 Crisis? with Dr Arvinder Singh Soin

The Bastion speaks to Padma Shri Awardee, Dr Arvinder Singh Soin, Chairman of the Medanta Institute of Liver Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine, Gurgaon to understand how hospitals are handling the staggering and multiplying caseloads of Covid patients.

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From vaccines to oxygen, Centre-state volleyball needs to end

The passing of buck between the Centre and the state on critical responsibilities for effective Covid management in India has adversely impacted the battle against the pandemic. While health is a state subject, there are critical tasks that the Centre needs to undertake in partnership with the states. It would be unfortunate if party politics were to disrupt the battle against independent India’s biggest health crisis, ThePrint points out.

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Why is Oxygen so important for COVID-19 patients?

The latest deadly wave of the pandemic in India has led to an enormous spike in patients requiring oxygen, and demand has far outstripped supply. Down to Earth explains why oxygen plays such a critical role in the treatment of Covid patients.

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More from the grantees
Old image of burning pyres shared amid rising COVID deaths in India
The pictures and videos of unending cremations being witnessed across India are real and devastating. But Alt News cautions that there are many which are old and being replayed as current.
Getting human rights work funded
India Development Review speaks to a cross-section of people working on issues spanning child rights, labour rights, gender justice, and health rights to understand fundraising challenges and strategies employed to continue their work during these testing times.
Light after dusk: How this Assam activist provides succour to abused children
EastMojo features Miguel Queah, the activist whose non-profit organisation ‘Universal Team for Social Action and Help’ (UTSAH) works for children’s rights, particularly victims of sexual violence.
UP’s Karaundi Reflects On The Education Of Its Women Population—Ground Report
Feminism In India reports from the village of Karaundi, 80 kms from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, where a large section of female students are denied access to education beyond the primary level.
மீண்டும் லாக்டவுன்! இறைச்சி வியாபாரிகள் என்ன சொல்கிறார்கள்? | Lockdown | Meat Market
Asiaville reports from the ground at a meat-and-fish market in Chennai. The sellers and traders recount how their sales have dropped drastically, and they are struggling to make both ends meet.
टीकमगढ़: लॉकडाउन के बीच डेली कमाने खाने वालों का हाल | Khabar Lahariya
Khabar Lahariya speaks to daily-wage labourers in Tikamgarh, Madhya Pradesh, who are struggling to find work, even as the lockdown induced by the second wave of Covid looms.
Ground Report : मौत का मरघट बना Mirzapur का मंडलीय अस्पताल
Janjwar reports from the Mandaliya hospital – a government hospital in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh - where unhygienic conditions, lack of staff, and absolute apathy pose a threat to the lives of Covid patients.
At Government Request, Twitter Takes Down Some Tweets Critical of Official COVID Handling
The Wire reports that Twitter, evidently under pressure, took down about 50 tweets, a majority of which were critical of the Centre’s handling of the second wave of Covid.

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