Coronavirus in India: Can travel restrictions help control the spread?
As vaccine distribution continues across the U.S. and more social media posts show concert announcements and people spending time together – plus, mask mandates are rumored to drop in select cities – many Americans seem to feel the worst is over from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, the pandemic is far from over, a reality seen most starkly in struggling countries, most shockingly now in India.
Attention has been called from news outlets across the board to what’s happening with the coronavirus in India right now, and the situation appears to be dire. As India struggles to get a handle on the crisis it’s facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, people wonder if India travel restrictions will help slow the spread of the virus.
Today, CNN reported that coronavirus cases in India have mounted so much that the healthcare system of the country has been pushed to its limit, bringing to mind the worst images of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic of hospitals overflowing with victims, and bodies pouring into the streets.
Reportedly, people in India have been dying in waiting rooms before being seen by physicians, and beds, oxygen, and medical workers are dwindling in supply.
Back in February, India closed one of its biggest COVID-19 care centers, the Sardar Patel Covid Care Center, thinking the virus was under control in the country. The facility reopened in late April amid the surge of cases reaching crisis levels in the country, and the facility has been more than criticized by its patients.
Pictures of the Sardar Patel Covid Care Center told a grim story: the facility is a massive open-air warehouse lined with “beds” made out of cardboard. The care center looks like a huge army bunker with cots made up of stacked boxes.
Furthermore, patients who have made it into the facility amid a mass of those needing care say the center far from cares for its patients.
One patient who spoke to CNN says doctors rarely check in on patients, and if anyone was in need of emergency medical care, by the time they could get a hold of a doctor to see them, the doctor would be too late.
Furthermore, as pictures show, there seems to be no protection against the spread of the coronavirus within the facility, as there are no walls separating patients inside the center. Many patients in the facility want to be discharged to another hospital, but the demand is often too high for them to be seen elsewhere.
India travel restrictions
As the situation in India rages on, countries around the world have imposed India travel restrictions to help contain the virus in the country, as humanitarians around the world collect funds to send to the struggling nation. The U.S. is reported to instill its India travel restrictions starting tomorrow.
CNBC reported over the weekend President Biden announced India travel restrictions, barring travelers from India from entering the U.S. in an attempt to contain the massive spread of the virus in India. However, some experts say the India travel restrictions will do little to affect the coronavirus situation in the U.S.
Food & Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC Friday the India travel restrictions will do little to help the U.S. because the variant raging through India right now is already in the U.S. Gottlieb says at this point in the pandemic in the U.S., the only significant slow in spread & cases will come from more Americans being vaccinated.
Gottlieb noted if the U.S. had stricter restrictions at the beginning of the pandemic, a ban may have made a significant slow in spread, but at this point the India travel bans will likely do more harm to India than help to the U.S.