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Preventing a repeat of the Covid-19 second wave oxygen crisis in India

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Medical oxygen is the single most important intervention for moderate and severe cases of Covid-19. Without it, patients can suffocate and die. In India, in the past one and a half years of the pandemic, both hospitals that treat Covid-19, and those that do not, suffered a shortage of medical oxygen. The problem was noted during the peak of the first wave in September 2020, and recurred on a much larger scale during the peak of the second wave, in April and May 2021. Some trackers have estimated that as many as hundreds of lives were lost across the country due to oxygen shortage or denial. The reason is not a lack of medical oxygen, per se, but the inadequacy of the distribution network of tankers to transport liquid oxygen from the point of manufacture, to the hospitals.