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What We Know About The UK’s First COVID-19 Deaths One Year On



When news emerged about the world’s first outbreak of coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan, many in the UK wrongly dismissed it as a health crisis happening elsewhere and were reassured by the government’s inaction.

The reality began sinking in with what was then thought to be Britain’s first Covid-19 death on March 5, 2020: a woman in her 70s at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. Weeks later, the UK was plunged into its first coronavirus lockdown on March 23.

Since then, it’s emerged that at least five other people had died earlier that month. And more recently, data compiled from death certificates has revealed coronavirus deaths that happened in the UK on January 30, February 2 and February 22, 2020.

Peter Attwood, 84, who died on January 30 last year, is thought to have been Britain’s first fatal Covid victim. Pneumonia and heart failure were initially blamed, but a post mortem report in August confirmed he had died of coronavirus, making him the world’s first victim outside China.

Bereaved families who lost loved ones early on in the pandemic told HuffPost UK the virus was clearly on UK shores a lot earlier than originally thought.

They have criticised the government, saying it reveals how totally unprepared they were, and claim delays will have caused unnecessary deaths. 

Jamie Brown, a spokesperson for the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group, said: “This points to the total under-estimation of the risk to people’s lives.

“There was significant ignorance, denial and arrogance that coronavirus was something happening in China and could not reach or harm us here.”

He added that, as a group of islands, the UK should have been better placed than most countries to shut down borders and prevent cases arriving from overseas.

“Our government completely ignored the problem which was growing. Its failure to take this crisis seriously right at the start is one of the earliest reasons that led to so many people dying in the UK.”

The timeline of events shows on December 31, 2019, a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City was reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO). On January 12, 2020, the WHO confirmed a novel coronavirus was the cause.

The first official UK coronavirus cases were believed to have been two Chinese tourists who were staying in York and treated at hospital in Newcastle on January 31.

On February 28, 2020, a British man was reported as the first UK citizen to die from coronavirus after being infected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

The first UK Covid-19 death was made public on March 5, 2020 – days after Boris Johnson joked about shaking hands with hospital staff in the first Downing Street coronavirus briefing on March 3.

Since then, earlier coronavirus deaths have been recorded, including Attwood, who was admitted to hospital with a mystery cough and fever on January 7 last year.

Tissue samples tested months later showed he had Covid after the coroner was dissatisfied that pneumonia had caused his death.

The Office for National Statistics told HuffPost UK delays for registering deaths on certificates happen for numerous reasons. Some will have been referred to a coroner, others will have an unknown cause of death, and some will have been homeless people.

Some believe there will have been many more UK coronavirus deaths that occurred earlier than official records show, but will be difficult to prove as there was no testing.

Catherine Mayer, author and Women’s Equality Party co-founder, firmly believes her husband was one of the early victims of Covid-19.

Andy Gill, the guitarist with band Gang of Four, toured Australia, New Zealand, Japan and China, with the final date being November 23, 2019, before heading home.

Mayer, his partner of 29 years, told HuffPost UK she recalls him sounding breathless when they spoke on the telephone just before his return. 

But she says he didn’t feel badly ill and resisted going into hospital. Gill didn’t realise his oxygen levels were dropping until they became dangerously low.

He was admitted to intensive care in January 2020, but even then doctors felt his prognosis was good.

“They said he was the healthiest person in there and would be out in no time,” she said. “They identified a certain type of pneumonia which was treatable.

But instead of responding to treatment, Gill went downhill. “Doctors were trying everything and puzzled by what they were seeing.

“Then there was that terrible moment when they put Andy on a ventilator and he never recovered.”

Catherine Mayer with her husband Andy Gill, who she believes was one of the early victims of coronavirus

Gill died on February 1, 2020, a month after his 64th birthday. The cause of death was recorded as pneumonia and multiple organ failure.

Mayer initially dismissed thoughts of coronavirus as Gill hadn’t been to Wuhan.

“At the time, there was a very rigid idea of how coronavirus developed,” she said. “Andy became ill, appeared to recover, then became worse. We now know this is common for people with Covid.”

As more details emerged about coronavirus, Meyer realised Gill had displayed several symptoms of the disease, including low oxygen levels, lethargy and losing his appetite.

She contacted his specialist asking if there was a possibility of it having been coronavirus and discovered they were already investigating. “They were trying to locate tissue samples to test as they couldn’t understand why Andy had become so ill.

“The specialist said, as they’d learned more about Covid-19, they began thinking there was a real possibility Andy might have been infected by it.”

Unfortunately, the right tissue samples weren’t found to test and Gill was cremated so Mayer accepts she will “never know” for certain. However, she  and medical and scientific experts believe it is likely Gill had coronavirus.

She has tracked family and friends in contact with Gill at the time of his illness and discovered others got sick – including the band’s 26-year-old tour manager who was hospitalised with “respiratory distress”.

Mayer, who has co-written the book Good Grief: Embracing Life at a Time of Death, with her mother, told HuffPost UK the grim milestone of 100,000 coronavirus deaths being surpassed is “particularly painful” for those who lost loved ones not even counted in that figure.

“It is a horrific figure and the death toll in the UK has been enormous,” she said. “Andy would have been a very early coronavirus death and there will be an awful lot of people who were not recognised in the first wave of this pandemic.

“We are now confronted by the narrative of the government saying they ‘did all they could’ when they manifestly didn’t.”

Andy Gill performing with band Gang of Four

Andy Gill performing with band Gang of Four

Mayer says understanding when coronavirus first hit the UK is crucial for learning lessons. “It isn’t a question of blame,” she said. “But the issue of when it was first here is linked to the slowness of response.

“Knowing when the virus first emerged is an integral part of understanding its nature and ability to change and makeshift.”

Mayer added: “China was massively at fault for not notifying people about the true extent of coronavirus fast enough.

“But this was compounded by having a UK government who just didn’t take it seriously enough at first.”

Arif Niyazi, 60, who lived in Birmingham with wife Serap, died on March 30 of coronavirus after being admitted to hospital 10 days earlier.

Daughter Ozel Ekrem, 40, who lives in London with her husband and two daughters, last saw her father in person on March 8 when they all enjoyed a family barbecue.

At that point, she said, everyone was living life normally as the government messaging suggested little to worry about.

“Things were terrible in Italy but as the government didn’t seem worried enough to take action, it made the public think there was no need to be concerned,” she said.

“The government was saying at that stage it was only the elderly who were affected so even when my dad became ill and went to hospital, we thought: ‘He’s only 60, he’ll be OK.’”

Arif Niyazi, 60, who died of coronavirus early on in the pandemic

Arif Niyazi, 60, who died of coronavirus early on in the pandemic

Ekrem says it was actually her mother who became ill first around the middle of March 2020 and went to A&E with breathing difficulties concerned about her angina. “They told my mum she would either get better or worse and sent her home. They should have tested her for coronavirus.”

Then Niyazi, a British Cypriot who was a restaurateur before working in catering supplies, began struggling with his breathing too, and was admitted to hospital.

He was not sent to intensive care or put on a ventilator and Ekrem says the family spoke to him daily via video messaging and never anticipated his death.

“I spoke to him through FaceTime that morning and he gave me a thumbs up. I feel robbed of my kind and generous dad and never got the chance to say goodbye.”

Ozel Ekrem with her two daughters

Ozel Ekrem with her two daughters

Ekrem, who works in public relations, was still attending large scale events around the time she last saw her dad. His grandchildren were still at school and her mum was still going to work as a teacher.

“I feel guilty now – what if I took coronavirus to my dad from London when I last saw him?” she said. “Or what if he got it from his grandchildren going to school? Or what if my mum had it when she was ill and the hospital sent her home without testing and she infected her husband?

“We understand the seriousness of coronavirus now, but when my dad became ill, we hadn’t even gone into lockdown.

“The information in the beginning was very poor and precautions were zero.”

Serap, who was married to Niyazi for 40 years with three children and six grandchildren, told HuffPost UK that if it had been known that coronavirus was around earlier in the UK, action could have been taken to prevent such a huge death toll.

Arif Niyazi with wife Serap. The couple were married for 40 years.

Arif Niyazi with wife Serap. The couple were married for 40 years.

“I’m absolutely devastated and still cannot believe he has gone,” she said. “We couldn’t even bury him properly as a Muslim as he could not have the formal prayers in the mosque.

“A Transit van took him to the funeral as funeral cars wouldn’t take Covid patients, There were only a few of us and we were only allowed 15 minutes. We couldn’t even throw soil as the digger did that.

“He wasn’t even given the dignity of a proper burial or prayers.”

She added: “None of the 100,000-plus people who have died deserved this. We should have shut down everything earlier.”

Sarah Nicola, 46, of Cumbria, lost her mum Helen, 79, to coronavirus on March 25, 2020, two days after she was admitted to hospital. Doctors suspected Covid but only received the positive result after her death.

“We couldn’t believe it when they said it was coronavirus as my mum didn’t go anywhere or go out,” she said. “However, district nurses went round to dress her weeping legs from water retention. We believe she got it from a nurse who didn’t have PPE and later had symptoms and was quarantined.”

Helen Nicola, 79, who died of coronavirus on March 25 2020,

Helen Nicola, 79, who died of coronavirus on March 25 2020,

Nicola says her mum had the underlying health condition of heart failure, but this was managed with medication and she “would still be here if it wasn’t for Covid” as her illness was manageable.

She believes the government was “very much minimising the disease” in the early days and only telling people to look for certain symptoms including a dry continuous cough.

Lockdown came too late,” she said. “If the government had relayed the seriousness of everything, we would have made sure we didn’t have any district nurses or carers coming into the home and managed ourselves.

“Coronavirus must have been around for a long time before they realised. But the government was trying to play it down.

“Finding out the situation late on will have caused so many needless deaths.”

Experts say coronavirus was widespread in the UK much earlier than initially thought with people returning from Christmas holidays abroad and skiing holidays reporting classic Covid symptoms.

A coronavirus tracking app designed by scientists at King’s College, London, has hinted at sustained community transmission of Covid-19 in the UK as early as December 2019.

Tim Spector, lead scientist on the Zoe Covid symptom study app and professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College, London, told HuffPost UK that many people reported their symptoms retrospectively and they have seen “large numbers reporting classic Covid symptoms between Christmas and New Year and in some cases, even earlier”.

“Finding out about deaths that happened earlier teaches us lessons about how poor our surveillance in the early part of last year was,” he said.

“It was just not picked up on at all.”

Tim Spector, lead scientist on the Zoe Covid symptom study app and professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College,

Tim Spector, lead scientist on the Zoe Covid symptom study app and professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College, London

Spector says one of the issues was that initially the government only recognised a few symptoms of Covid – while their app has 24 symptoms listed, including loss of smell which the government did not recognise until May.

“We have had e-mails and anecdotes from hundreds and thousands of people saying they had symptoms since December.

“There is no doubt in my mind that these people had Covid. If there had been testing then, they would have shown as positive.

“The commonest source was people going abroad for Christmas and going on skiing holidays.”

Spector told HuffPost UK that while these reports show coronavirus was around in December or even earlier, the UK didn’t notice as a country until mid-February.

“It exposes how slow we were to react. We were in denial,” he said.

“The delay in picking up coronavirus cases changed our attitude to the first lockdown. People thought the numbers weren’t that high and that we had more time.”

Spector added: “We are catching up and need to learn from our past mistakes and be better at planning.

“There are many people who became ill and even died of coronavirus early on who were not recognised. It was definitely underestimated.”



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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