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India's COVID-19 crisis continues to worsen as fear of variants grow

India's runaway coronavirus surge is only getting worse, and doctors are growing increasingly concerned about the risks of a new variant.

The state of play: "The current wave of COVID has a different clinical behavior," Sujay Shad, a surgeon at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, told The New York Times. "It's affecting young adults. It's affecting families. It's a new thing altogether. Two-month-old babies are getting infected."

Reports are still anecdotal, and researchers say data is too thin, but reports of dozens of fully vaccinated doctors falling ill have fueled concerns that the virus is finding a way to evade the world's defenses.

  • Experts also worry that variants may be leading to reinfections, Ravindra Gupta, professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge, told Time.

Where it stands: Hospitals are running out of critical supplies, including oxygen.

  • The country is averaging 300,000 cases a day and the official death toll is at 200,000, but experts believe that's a severe undercount.
  • Crematoriums are operating around the clock and expanding into parking lots to add more capacity, per the BBC.

What they're saying: Writing from his home, the New York Times New Delhi bureau chief, Jeffrey Gettleman, described the unsettling nature of the latest surge — and the lack of available help for people living there.

  • "If we do get really sick, where will we go? ICUs are full. Gates to many hospitals have been closed," he wrote.

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