- Global COVID-19 cases are dwindling, but India continues to feel the heat
- In last seven days, India clocked more cases than all countries put together
- The crypto world has come for India’s bailout
The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in India continues to test the limits of the country’s healthcare system, even as the global situation has visibly improved.
In last seven days, the fresh cases reported by India – the new epicentre of coronavirus – were more than all the other countries put together – making up 50.1% of the global case load. Similarly, 31.2% of the global deaths came from India. Both numbers are disproportionately higher than India’s 17.7% share in the global population.
India has seen its weekly fresh infections go up by 0.50%, while the global fresh infections came down by 5% in the last seven days. On the fatality side, the situation is even worse in the world’s second most populous country: the weekly death toll in the country has gone up by 12% when global numbers have come down 3%.
For the past 22 days, the country has reported more than 300,000 cases – surpassing the US infection peak. In these 22 days, the country’s healthcare has crumbled as it saw 8.1 million fresh cases and about 76,000 deaths. What’s more, experts suggest that both these numbers have been under-reported – a claim they are vetting by showing the unprecedented long queues at the country’s crematoriums.
With the country’s healthcare system buckling under the weight of mounting death toll and hospitals facing severe shortage of liquified oxygen, the government reached out to the global powers for aid. Countries like Singapore, the US, the UK, the UAE, Pakistan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have already offered a helping hand.
Crypto to the rescue
Amid all this melee, cryptocurrencies have also come to India’s rescue – it is probably the first time that these digital assets are being used for relief work on this scale.
In a single transaction on Wednesday, the founder of world’s second largest cryptocurrency Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, donated US$1.2 billion to India Covid Relief Fund set up by tech-entrepreneur Sandeep Nailwal. Aged 27, Mr Buterin holds the record for being the world’s youngest crypto-billionaire.
Mr Nailwal set up India Covid Relief Fund last month. “Can't take this sitting down anymore, I am going to run a Covid relief campaign in lieu of what’s going on in India. Need help from the Global crypto community. I will take full responsibility for transparency, funds usage and regulatory compliance,” he posted on microblogging website twitter.
Indian firebrand crypto-intellectual Balaji Srinivasan has committed US$50 to COVID-19 fight in India for each retweet on Mr Nailwal’s tweet. “If you’ve been fortunate enough to do well this year, consider joining me and @VitalikButerin by donating at the addresses below. But if all you have is Twitter, help spread the word. For every RT, I’ll donate another $50 to fight COVID in India, up to $100k. #cryptovscovid,” he said.
Earlier former Australian cricketing star Brett Lee committed one bitcoin (approximately INR4 million) to help India in its fight against the raging COVID-19 pandemic.