CNN’ Clarissa Ward goes inside a crowded COVID-19 ward in Uttar Pradesh


CNN’s chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward goes inside a COVID-19 ward in a state-run hospital in India’s Uttar Pradesh – one of the country’s most populous states – to see the crisis first-hand.

Ward observes that people are everywhere — on stretchers, on tables, on the floor — moaning and desperate for oxygen. There are about 55 beds for 100 patients, according to hospital staff. There are just five doctors. Some patients lie on the floor.

One of those is 32-year-old mother-of-two Kavita. She’s been on the floor of the hospital for four days, struggling to breathe. She says she hasn’t received any oxygen, and has seen 20 people die.

“I’m getting anxious,” she said. “I’m scared that I’ll stop breathing,” she said.

Oxygen is a scarce commodity in India, which has reported more than 2.5 million cases in the past week.

Just a few hundred yards away in the same complex, orderly lines of people patiently waiting to be vaccinated following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement that anyone over the age of 18 can be inoculated.

CNN speaks to Dr. Somendra Tomar, an Uttar Pradesh state lawmaker who was among 600 people getting their vaccine.

Ward asks him why India has been hit so badly when the hospital administrator interrupts to say she is asking too many questions.

She follows up asking the lawmaker if he accepts the government of India has failed its people in the handling of this crisis.

Tomar responds saying they are “working tirelessly around the clock” to find solutions including increasing the number of beds.

Back in the COVID-19 ward, Vishal Kashyap desperately tries to revive his 55-year-old mother, Rajbala, who was there for six days before she got a ventilator. It would be more than an hour before her lifeless body is finally moved from the tightly-packed room.

Check the full coverage here.