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We Eradicated TB, But Poverty Brought It Back. Will COVID-19 Be The Same?



Stevie Miller had been suffering from a nagging, hacking cough for about a year when the blackouts started.

He’d stand up and suddenly crumple in a heap on the ground, then come to moments later feeling dazed, with no clue about what had just happened. He began to experience these episodes more frequently, up to several times a week.

By this point, Stevie had grown accustomed to feeling miserable – most days he was cold, tired, hungry and weak. “I felt run down every day,” Stevie said. Since 2010, he’d been living homeless on the streets of east London, sleeping on park benches and under market stalls, in squats and abandoned buildings, in shipping containers and church halls.

Getting sick was inevitable. “You just cannot look after yourself in a healthy way,” Stevie said. “A lot of it is to do with your mental state and the insecurity of not knowing what is next. It wears you down, and you don’t look after yourself properly, and end up getting ill.” That’s why, when his cough first started, Stevie hardly gave it a second thought.

Mostly, he was grateful that he had a roof over his head, albeit a temporary one. In the winter months, as the weather began to turn cold, the charity North London Action for the Homeless found Stevie shelter in churches around Hackney. He spent each night huddled on a mattress in various church halls, together with dozens of other homeless people.

“I would be lying inches away from the next person, and all around you would hear people coughing, snoring and talking in their sleep,” Stevie said. Soon, his coughing would echo theirs. 

A lot of it is to do with your mental state and the insecurity of not knowing what is next. It wears you down, and you don’t look after yourself properly, and end up getting ill.
Stevie Miller

The blackouts were something new, however. When Stevie collapsed on the street one afternoon in 2013, concerned bystanders called an ambulance, and Stevie was rushed to Homerton Hospital. It turned out the blackouts were caused by salt deficiency and hypertension, but doctors were suspicious about his persistent cough and referred him to the respiratory clinic. Tests revealed that his cough wasn’t simply the byproduct of an ordinary cold. Stevie had contracted a disease that was more commonly associated with life in the 19th century: tuberculosis.

TB is a bacterial infection spread through the air when infected individuals cough or sneeze. It spreads easily in crowded areas with poor ventilation, and among individuals who have compromised immune systems that aren’t strong enough to fight it off. 

Stevie, now 69, can’t be sure exactly where he contracted TB. One of the church halls he slept in during the bleak winter months is a likely source, but he could have been exposed in some other cramped and crowded place where he sought shelter together with other homeless and vulnerable people. 

“It was inevitable that someone in his situation would get TB,” said Sue Collinson, a specialist TB care worker at Homerton Hospital who looked after Stevie. “The risk factors for homeless people catching TB are significant, compared to the normal population.”

If left untreated, TB can be life-threatening, and even delays in treatment can have a devastating impact on a person’s health. Globally, TB kills more than 1.6m people a year—more than HIV and malaria combined. It is most prevalent in countries such as India, Pakistan, China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, the Philippines and South Africa. 

Tuberculosis used to be widespread in the UK as well. During the Victorian era, it was a leading killer, responsible for 40% of all deaths among working-class people in cities. Literary greats such as Robert Burns, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the Bronte sisters all died from the disease.

This 1966 image made available by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention shows a chest x-ray of a tuberculosis patient.

But the publication of William Beveridge’s landmark 1942 report on the five “giant evils” plaguing society – want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness – was a major turning point in the fight against disease and poverty in the UK.

Beveridge proposed the creation of a free health service accessible to all; he wanted disease banished by defeating social injustices. His report laid the groundwork for the NHS and comprehensive social services, including TB screenings and vaccinations. As living standards improved during the 20th century, the death toll from TB began to fall, and by the 1980s the disease had been all but eradicated in the UK. 

Since then, however, tuberculosis has surged back in in Britain, jumping to a 30-year high in 2011. And while increased disease monitoring efforts have brought rates back down, people like Stevie highlight the fact that even today there are pockets of extreme poverty where diseases like TB can thrive. 

“TB loves austerity,” said Collinson. “TB is quintessentially a social disease that really thrives on deprivation, poverty, overcrowding, social inequalities and generally affects the most vulnerable people in our society.

“In this modern 21st century, when we are the fifth-largest economy, we should not be having people infected with these things.”

TB is quintessentially a social disease which really thrives on deprivation, poverty, overcrowding, social inequalities and generally affects the most vulnerable people in our society.
Sue Collinson

The time is now ripe for a new Beveridge-style approach to reduce inequalities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, says John Ashton, former president of the UK Faculty of Public Health and former chief of the UK Public Health Association.

He told HuffPost UK the virus had highlighted gross inequalities, hitting the most disadvantaged people the hardest.

He fears things will get worse as the second wave continues to grip the nation.

“We are more likely to see deaths among younger people suffering from health conditions and it will take an even more disproportionate toll on the most disadvantaged communities, particularly in industrialised northern cities.

“I think we are going to see a new era coming out of the pandemic and a desire to reduce these gross inequalities. We need a society where no one has too much or too little.”

Stevie Miller

Stevie Miller

Stevie had been living in east London for almost 30 years before he became homeless. He was born in Alaska in 1951. His father was in the military, so he travelled a lot as a child. Stevie began studying languages at the University of South Florida with the idea of becoming an interpreter. However, he dropped out after a year – captivated, he said, by the “1960s hippy lifestyle”.

In the early 1980s, Stevie began working as a production manager for fringe theatre productions off Broadway in New York and went touring for five years with a group of English producers, visiting Holland, Germany, Canada and the UK.

In 1986, he met a British woman named Jane in London after she attended a theatre performance. They got married in the US a couple of years later and settled in a rented flat in Shoreditch. For the next two decades, they made a life for themselves in London – Jane running a business buying and selling antiques and Stevie continuing to work in the theatre industry, making frequent trips between New York and London.

In 2009, however, Jane became ill with vascular dementia and liver failure, and she died just a few months later in summer 2010. Stevie’s life quickly unravelled, and he ended up homeless and stateless. “I found it very hard to cope after Jane died,” Stevie said. “The flat we were living in was rented, and I was evicted, as I was a US citizen and didn’t have any rights to anything.”

Stevie sofa-surfed for a while but soon hit the streets and ended up sleeping rough for about three years. It was then that his health began to decline and he took to drinking heavily. “It is not easy living out there,” Stevie said.

Particularly during winter, the concentration of homeless people in makeshift shelters creates the ideal conditions for TB to spread. “People who are homeless and on the streets don’t often realise how unwell they are, as they are used to feeling terrible all the time,” Collinson said. “Then when these people gather together in places with poor ventilation, people cough and everyone breathes it in. TB thrives on people’s misery.”

There were 4,655 TB cases in England in 2018, and the rate of TB among the most deprived 10% of the population is six times higher than among the least deprived 10%. Some 13% of people with TB have at least one social risk factor, such as homelessness or a history of substance misuse. TB also remains concentrated in major cities, with London experiencing more than a third of all UK cases.

“There is a huge disparity between people with fabulous salaries living in luxury and those on the breadline, struggling to make ends meet,” said Ashton. “Poorer people have not been protected against the problems caused by austerity.”

Stevie likely would have died from TB had he not blacked out and been rushed to hospital. Doctors put Stevie on a strict regime of antibiotics for a year, which required him to take up to 15 tablets a day.

Just as homelessness made him susceptible to the disease, however, it also presented a challenge to his recovery. TB typically requires patients to undergo at least six months of treatment, and it can be very difficult for people in unstable housing situations to maintain regular treatment over a long period of time.

“If you have someone with a chaotic lifestyle and social risk factors such as being homeless, it is more challenging to treat them,” said Mike Mandelbaum, chief executive of TB Alert, the UK’s national TB charity. “This is one of the things that has resulted from increased austerity and the rising number of people who are street homeless.”

Stopping TB treatment prematurely can be extremely detrimental. Patients often start feeling better after the first few weeks of treatment, and it can be tempting to stop taking their medication at that point. “It is quite easy for people to think: ‘These drugs are horrible – I’ll stop taking them,’” said Mandelbaum. “But it is critical they carry on taking the medication as otherwise they will get ill again and the TB will take 18 to 24 months of treatment if it comes back as multi-drug-resistant TB.”

As Stevie’s case worker, one of Collinson’s top priorities was to get him off the streets and into a stable living situation. “Once we get them housed, we can keep them on treatment,” she said of homeless TB patients. The TB team has a scheme with the local authority where homeless people with TB are fast-tracked into temporary accommodation. Following his TB diagnosis in 2013, Stevie was given emergency accommodation of a room in a hostel, where he stayed for the next few years. 

“Not only are we curing the individuals, we are also preventing onward transmission of TB to stop them infecting more people,” Collinson said.

Sir William Beveridge’s report on social security laid the foundations for the creation of the NHS

Sir William Beveridge’s report on social security laid the foundations for the creation of the NHS

Beveridge recognised the importance of access to health, medication, accommodation and opportunities for all – which paved the way for the modern welfare state. Now, says Ashton, we need a new solution to tackle the societal ills that exist today.

“The ability to progress has been snatched away from poorer people, and the ladder of opportunity has been taken away from them,” he said. “We need a commitment to fund a fairer society, and there is a growing public feeling that better-off people who are earning a lot of money should pay more tax, and people at the bottom should be supported more.”

Because Stevie is a US citizen, however, he had no automatic right to welfare support in the UK, and Collinson feared he would end up on the streets again once his treatment was finished and his right to stay in temporary housing expired.

She sought pro bono legal advice on his behalf from an immigration specialist and found that if Stevie could demonstrate 20 years of continuous residence in the UK, he could qualify for leave to remain and the right to access welfare benefits.

Collinson managed to track down some of Stevie’s records and personally wrote to the Home Office explaining his history and why some documents were simply unobtainable. As there was no official proof of where Stevie had been for the last 30 years, Collinson went to great lengths, gathering personal letters from people like church staff, newsagents and Stevie’s friends to support his case. 

“I got together all these scrappy bits of paper and sent them all to the Home Office. Luckily, they made a humanitarian decision, and we managed to get him leave to remain for 30 months. However, he has to keep re-applying every few years for 10 years.”

When asked why she went to such efforts to help Stevie, Collinson shrugged and said: “It’s my job.” She added: “I am a firm believer in social justice, and I feel there are such failings in society and these are people who are so much worse off than me.

“Working with individuals like Stevie and helping them makes me happy.” 

Stevie Miller

Stevie Miller

Today, Stevie lives in a one-bedroom flat in Dalston in an over-55s retirement community. He is registered with a GP and quit drinking after going through a recovery programme soon after his TB diagnosis. At 69, he says although he would be happy to work, no one wants to employ him because of his age. Apart from some scarring on his lungs, he is now cured of TB.

During the first coronavirus lockdown, Stevie felt even more grateful that his collapse led to him being rescued from his life on the streets – and firmly believes it saved his life.

“Sue Collinson helped me get my identity back and followed up on me every step of the way,” Stevie said. “Ironically, blacking out on the streets and being diagnosed with TB ended up saving my life. I honestly think I would have wound up dead.”



Sex Toy Company Receives Award From Queen For ‘Outstanding Continuous Growth’



British sex toy company Lovehoney has received a royal seal of approval.

The adult retailer was this week honored with The Queen’s Award for Enterprise “for outstanding continuous growth in overseas sales over the last six years,” per a press release on its website.

The accolade, announced by the official journal of record The London Gazette, allows the company in Bath, southwest England, to fly The Queen’s Awards flag at their office and use its emblem on marketing and packaging materials for five years. It also won the award in 2016.

“We are thrilled to have received official recognition from the Queen,” said Debbie Bond, Lovehoney’s chief commercial officer. “Her Majesty has been a wonderful supporter of Lovehoney as we have grown into being the world’s leading sexual wellness brand.”

“Royal patronage will help us to create more jobs at our Bath headquarters and in our international offices and spread the sexual happiness message globally,” added Bond, who said royal approval shows how shoppers “are embracing sexual wellness products as never before and appreciating their importance in improving overall well-being ― a particularly important message as we come out of lockdown after a stressful year living with the pandemic.”

The first Queen’s Awards — described on the United Kingdom government’s website as “the most prestigious awards for UK business” — were issued in 1966. This year, some 205 companies were honored for their work in innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promotion of opportunity through social mobility.


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Joe Rogan Admits He’s A ‘F**king Moron’ After Offering Selfish COVID-19 Vaccine Advice



Wildly popular podcast host Joe Rogan admitted he’s a “f**king moron” and “not a respected source of information, even for me” when he addressed his selfish comments about young, healthy people not needing to get vaccinated from COVID-19.

Rogan, whose audience is in the hundreds of millions, drew backlash — and a rebuke from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert — when he said on an episode of his “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast released on Spotify last week that “if you’re a healthy person and you’re exercising all the time and you’re young and you’re eating well, I don’t think you need to worry about this.”

On Thursday, Rogan clarified in a video shared on YouTube that he was “not an anti-vaxx person.” “In fact, I said I believe they’re safe and I encourage many people to take them. My parents were vaccinated,” he explained. “I just said, ‘I don’t think that if you’re a young, healthy person that you need it.’ Their argument was, you need it for other people.”

“So you don’t transmit the other virus,” said his cohost.

“That makes more sense,” agreed Rogan. “But that’s a different argument. That’s a different conversation.”

Rogan, whose show was snapped up by Spotify in a $100 million deal last year, later attempted to explain away the comments by saying how he doesn’t plan what he says on air.

He’s often high or drinking alcohol during the shows, he said, before accusing “clickbaity” journalists of blowing his comments out of proportion.

“I’m not a doctor, I’m a fucking moron and I’m a cage fighting commentator who’s a dirty standup comedian who just told you I’m drunk most of the time and I do testosterone and I smoke a lot of weed but I’m not a respected source of information, even for me,” he said.

“If I say things, I’m always going ‘check on that Jamie, I don’t know if that’s true,’” Rogan added. “But I at least try to be honest about what I’m saying.”

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus


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Dozens Killed In Stampede At Jewish Religious Festival In Israel



JERUSALEM (AP) — The director of an Israeli ambulance service has confirmed that nearly 40 people died in a stampede at a religious festival in northern Israel.

Eli Beer, director of Hatzalah, said he was shocked by the size of the crowd at the Lag BaOmer celebrations at Mount Meron. Police were quoted as saying some 100,000 people were there.

He told Army Radio that there were four to five times the number of people that should have entered a location like this. “Close to 40 people died as a result of this tragedy,” he said.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS EVENT. AP’s earlier story is below.

A stampede broke out early Friday at a Jewish religious gathering attended by tens of thousands of people in northern Israel, leaving 150 hospitalized, authorities said. Israeli media reported that as many as 44 people were killed and published photos of rows of bodies.

The disaster occurred at Mount Meron at the main celebrations of Lag BaOmer, a holiday when tens of thousands of people, mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews, gather to honor Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a 2nd century sage and mystic who is buried there. Large crowds traditionally light bonfires, pray and dance as part of the celebrations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “great tragedy,” and said everyone was praying for the victims.

 The incident happened after midnight, and the cause of the stampede was not immediately clear. Videos circulating on social media showed large numbers of ultra-Orthodox Jews packed together in tight spaces.

A 24-year-old witness, identified only by his first name Dvir, told the Army Radio station that “masses of people were pushed into the same corner and a vortex was created.” He said a first row of people fell down, and then a second row, where he was standing, also began to fall down from the pressure of the stampede.

“I felt like I was about to die,” he said.

Zaki Heller, spokesman for the Magen David Adom rescue service, said 150 people had been hospitalized and confirmed there had been some deaths. Army Radio, citing anonymous medical officials, said the death toll had risen to 44.

Heller told the station “no one had ever dreamed” something like this could happen. “In one moment, we went from a happy event to an immense tragedy,” he said.

Photos from the scene showed rows of wrapped bodies.

The Israeli military said it had dispatched medics and search and rescue teams along with helicopters to assist with a “mass casualty incident” in the area. It did not provide details on the nature of the disaster.

It was the first huge religious gathering to be held legally since Israel lifted nearly all restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. The country has seen cases plummet since launching one of the world’s most successful vaccination campaigns late last year.

Health authorities had nevertheless warned against holding such a large gathering.

But when the celebrations started, the Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, police chief Yaakov Shabtai and other top officials visited the event and met with police, who had deployed 5,000 extra forces to maintain order.

Ohana, a close ally of Netanyahu, thanked police for their hard work and dedication “for protecting the well-being and security for the many participants” as he wished the country a happy holiday.

Netanyahu is struggling to form a governing coalition ahead of a Tuesday deadline, and the national tragedy is sure to complicate those efforts.


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Gabrielle Union Talks Baby Kaavia’s Free Spirit: ‘Shade Is Her Super Power’



Gabrielle Union recently talked about her daughter, Kaavia James, and her funny “shady” moments, characterizing those times as her 2-year-old’s “super power.”

“Shade is her super power because when Kaavia gives you a look, it’s either you’re not respecting her boundaries or something is happening that she doesn’t like,” the actor told People in an interview published Wednesday.

Union and her retired NBA star husband, Dwyane Wade, welcomed Kaavia in November 2018.

The couple has since poked fun at the toddler’s occasional adorably shady facial expressions — and hilarious side-eyes — like when a photo of Kaavia seated on a couch looking pensive and slightly unbothered became a meme last year.

Or when the little one looked less than pleased with the outcome of her face paint design at her second birthday party:

Inspired by Kaavia’s witty personality, Wade and Union created an Instagram account for the little girl, often using the hashtag ”#Shadybaby” in the posts’ captions. The couple also collaborated to write a Kaavia-influenced children’s book titled “Shady Baby” due for release next month.

Union explained in Wednesday’s People interview that she celebrates Kaavia’s freedom to be her authentic self amid a long history of harmful ways Black women and girls have been treated in society.

“The main takeaway is that she’s free to be this amazing, dynamic, shady at times, loving at times Black little girl when the world has not been so kind to Black girls and women,” she added.

In addition to Kaavia, Wade is father to Zaya, Zaire and Xavier. Union and Wade also parent his nephew Dahveon Morris.

Wade told People that he and Union make a point to encourage their children to be their true selves.

“If we allow our kids to be their true selves we don’t have to worry about them conforming with anything or anyone,” he said. “Why wouldn’t we push our kids to be their authentic selves?”

Last month, Kaavia took a side-eyeing break to enjoy a sweet play date with 2-year-old Cairo, the daughter of actors Tia Mowry and Cory Hardrict.

After some hugs, Kaavia generously took Cairo for a spin in her toddler-sized electric car:


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Anne Heche Says Ellen DeGeneres Didn’t Want Her To ‘Dress Sexy’



Anne Heche took an unexpected swipe at former girlfriend Ellen DeGeneres this week during an online fashion retrospective.

In a short TikTok video Tuesday, Heche looked back at some of her favorite looks from years past, including the 1998 VH1 Fashion Awards and a memorable “Dancing with the Stars” routine from last fall.

The actor’s enthusiasm for nostalgia, however, notably dipped when she came upon a photo of her and DeGeneres from the 1998 Golden Globe Awards. The pair appear to have color-coordinated their outfits, with DeGeneres in a navy suit and Heche in a blue velvet gown and matching coat.

“Why do I look like a hippie? It’s because Ellen didn’t want me to dress sexy,” Heche, who has starred in films like “Donnie Brasco” and “Six Days, Seven Nights,” declared. After giving the look a zero out of 10 and a thumbs down, she added, “Bye, no!”

Heche and DeGeneres dated from 1997 to 2000. During their time together, the women were among Hollywood’s most-buzzed-about same-sex couples.

The former couple has remained mostly tight-lipped about the specifics of their relationship in the media. Heche, however, touched on her ex in a number of interviews timed to her appearance on “Dancing with the Stars” last year.

Chatting with Mr. Warburton magazine last year, she recalled angering Hollywood executives when she brought DeGeneres as her date to the premiere of 1997’s “Volcano.”

“I was told by Fox Studio executives that if I brought Ellen to the premiere, my contract would be terminated,” she told the publication. “I brought Ellen despite those threats, and we were escorted out of the theater before the lights came on by security and not allowed to attend the premiere party because they did not want any photos of us together.”

Ellen DeGeneres (left) and Anne Heche at the 1998 Golden Globe Awards.

“I was a part of a revolution that created social change,” she added, “and I could not have done that without falling in love with her.”

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight last October, Heche noted that she hadn’t spoken to DeGeneres “in years,” but would be open to a reunion under the right circumstances.

“With relationships, I think many of us have [been there], you come to a fork in the road, ‘What do you want and what do I want?’” she said. “Those goals, that intent in life, is determined by the individual. Her intent and my intent were different and that’s why we separated.”


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Elliot Page Emotionally Shares What’s Given Him The Most Joy Since Coming Out As Trans



Elliot Page is sharing the moment that has brought him the most joy since he announced he was a transgender man in December 2020.

In a peek at an interview with Oprah Winfrey slated for release on her Apple TV+ series “The Oprah Conversation” on Friday, the 34-year-old said that he’s found “the most joy.”

“Getting out of the shower and the towel’s around your waist and you’re looking at yourself in the mirror and you’re just like, ‘There I am.’ And I’m not having the moment where I’m panicked,” he said, before breaking down in tears. “It’s being able to touch my chest and feel comfortable in my body for the — probably the first time.”

The actor added his tears were “tears of joy.”

Earlier this year, Page talked to Time magazine about his decision to get top surgery and described the experience as something that allowed for him to recognize himself. Page recalled puberty as “total hell” and told the publication that the surgery “has completely transformed my life.”

He also told the publication that he spent much of his energy being uncomfortable with his body and the surgery has helped bring that energy back.

Page notably came out to fans last year with a heartfelt Instagram post, sharing that he would be using the pronouns “he” and “they” and said: “I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life.”

He went on to say: “I love that I am trans,” Page wrote. “And I love that I am queer. And the more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive.”  


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India Adds Another 379,257 Virus Cases As Vaccines Open To All Adults



NEW DELHI (AP) — India set another global record in new virus cases Thursday, as millions of people in one state cast votes despite rising infections and the country geared up to open its vaccination rollout to all adults amid snags.

With 379,257 new infections, India now has reported more than 18.3 million cases, second only to the United States. The Health Ministry also reported 3,645 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 204,832. Experts believe both figures are an undercount, but it’s unclear by how much.

India has set a daily global record for seven of the past eight days, with a seven-day moving average of nearly 350,000 infections. Daily deaths have nearly tripled in the past three weeks, reflecting the intensity of the latest surge. And the country’s already teetering health system is under immense strain, prompting multiple allies to send help.

A country of nearly 1.4 billion people, India had thought the worst was over when cases ebbed in September. But mass public gatherings such as political rallies and religious events that were allowed to continue, and relaxed attitudes on the risks fed by leaders touting victory over the virus led to what now has become a major humanitarian crisis, health experts say. New variants of the coronavirus have also partly led the surge.

Amid the crisis, voting for the eighth and final phase of the West Bengal state elections began Thursday, even as the devastating surge of infections continues to barrel across the country with a ferocious speed, filling crematoriums and graveyards.

A coronavirus patient is shifted to a ward after admission at GTB hospital in New Delhi on April 29, 2021. 

More than 8 million people are expected to vote in at least 11,860 polling stations across the state. Election Commission has said social distancing measures would be in place.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party have faced criticism over the last few weeks for holding huge election rallies in the state, which health experts suggest might have driven the surge there too. Other political parties also participated in rallies.

The state recorded more than 17,000 cases in the last 24 hours — its highest spike since the pandemic began.

Starting Wednesday, all Indians 18 and older were allowed to register on a government app for vaccinations, but social media were flooded with complaints the app had crashed due to high use, and once it was working again, no appointments were available.

The vaccinations are supposed to start Saturday, but India, one of the world’s biggest producers of vaccines, does not yet have enough doses for everyone. Even the ongoing effort to inoculate people above 45 is stuttering.

One state, Maharashtra, has already said it won’t be able to start on Saturday.

Since January, nearly 10% of Indians have received one jab, but only around 1.5% have received both required doses.

Amid the acute shortage of oxygen and other hospital supplies, the White House said the U.S. will send more than $100 million worth of items, including 1,000 oxygen cylinders, 15 million N95 masks and 1 million rapid diagnostic tests. It said they will begin arriving Thursday, just days after President Joe Biden promised to step up assistance.

The U.S. and Britain have already sent a shipment of medical items. France, Germany, Russia, Ireland and Australia have also promised help.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has advised its citizens to leave India. An alert on the U.S. Embassy’s website warned that “access to all types of medical care is becoming severely limited in India due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.”

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus


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