Tsunami of COVID-19: Pray for the People of India
India has been going through a ferocious onslaught of the Coronavirus for the past month. Infections are at their peak – the highest daily average reported is now at 330,745 and nearly 3000 deaths are reported each day. There have been 17,636,307 infections and 197,894 coronavirus deaths in India since the pandemic began. Researchers monitoring trends fear that the worst is yet to come, with around a million cases every day likely to happen beginning mid-May. Given many of India’s millions live in dense residential areas amidst poverty and poor infrastructure, the actual numbers are likely to be far higher.
As soon as the numbers started falling towards the end of 2020, people came out in large crowds in public places. Physical distancing and mask wearing were abandoned.
Meanwhile, a double mutant variant of the virus began to rage through the country. Some say it is more transmissible than the earlier strain. Weddings, election rallies, and religious gathering got back to their full form. The Kumbh Mela, a Hindu religious festival, considered the World’s largest religious gathering on the banks of the river Ganges, attracted 25 million pilgrims. In the run up for election in five states, political rallies, packed with hundreds of thousands, were addressed by leaders who did not wear masks nor adhered to physical distancing.
The health system is overwhelmed. There is a scarcity of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, medicine, and care facilities. Many are dying on the streets in front of hospitals. There are long queues at crematoriums and burial grounds. Only 8 percent of India’s population has received one dose of the vaccine so far, and only 1.3 percent has been fully vaccinated. A friend of mine tells me that one can feel and smell death everywhere.
India is on the brink. The World Health Organization, European Union, and a host of countries are rushing aid to India in the form of Oxygen cylinders, ventilators, and vaccines. With all the losses now and those to come soon, the social and economic implications are going to be enormous.
Let us pray for the people of India:
God of grace and life, we come to you at this hour – fearful, anxious, vulnerable and distraught. We hold the people of India in our prayers, as they suffer the ravages of the pandemic and are exposed to loss of life, pain, anguish, grief, and uncertainty at this moment.
We pray for the families who have lost their loved ones, those battling for life, and those who are exposed to the devastating impact of these losses. We pray for those caring for the mourners as well as for those under care, especially healthcare professionals and all others involved in essential services. Grant healing to those who are suffering, and give protection, strength, and courage to those who are serving.
God, we do not ask you to take us back soon to our familiar world but to accompany us and help us accompany one another as we walk through this unknown and frightful path. Help us to discern the mystery of this phenomenon, and to look for your signposts directing us to new realities that ensure life with justice and dignity for all.
This we ask in the name of Christ.