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India Makes 7,000 Tons Of Oxygen A Day, So Why Is There A Shortage?

India Makes 7,000 Tons Of Oxygen A Day, So Why Is There A Shortage? All of these people are lining up for oxygen in India. But the country isn't...

Sunday, May 9, 2021

/ by Avishek Bera

 

The News Cover:  All of these people are lining up for oxygen in India. But the country isn't actually running out. It produces nearly 7,000 tons a day, enough for its 1.3 billion people. So we decoded what's really behind the shortage. Liquid oxygen has to be stored at very low temperatures. 

Cryogenic tankers keep it at the right levels, but India doesn't have enough, and it's relying on getting supplies from other countries, like Singapore. Most oxygen production in India is for industrial use. People are even lining up outside factories in rural areas, while demand is climbing in cities like Mumbai in the west and New Delhi in the north. But for safety reasons, oxygen has to be transported by road or trains and not by air, which is why cities are still waiting. And people are outraged. 

Many Indians say the government has failed for years to invest enough money in the infrastructure needed to avoid this. Patients with severe COVID end up with hypoxemia when oxygen levels in the blood are too low. One in four hospitalized COVID patients need oxygen. Even after being admitted to hospitals, many people are still dying because of low supply. There are even reports of hospitals asking people to bring in their own cylinders. There's also a growing black market for them. One man said he paid 45,000 rupees for one, or about $600. That's about nine times its usual price. 

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