Oxygen Deaths: Reality Is The Biggest Casualty In Govt Denial – By Ruben Banerjee
I wonder what must be going through the mind of Kanika Duggal, having heard the Union Minister of State for Health, Bharati Pravin Pawar stoutly deny any oxygen deaths in any state or union territory of this country during the second wave of the Covid Pandemic.
Kanika, whom we had featured in one of our recent Outlook covers, had recounted in harrowing details how her 54-year-old mother Raman – a resident of Delhi’s Vivek Vihar – had died a slow and painful death for lack of oxygen…. Despite being exceptionally tragic, Kanika’s story is one that was rather common during the worst days of the Covid pandemic that peaked during April-May.
We have all heard such heartrending stories, even if we were lucky not to have experienced it ourselves. The shortage of oxygen during those months was acute and real. As Covid swept, family after the family were forced to frantically search for oxygen that suddenly seemed nowhere in sight. We begged, borrowed and possibly stole cylinders in our desperate bid to keep our near and dear ones breathing. Many survived, but scores died. The memories of those nightmarish days are indelibly etched in our minds as part of what has been our collective but frightening reality….