Indian officials ignored their own panel of scientific advisors who warned in March that a virulent new strain of the coronavirus was spreading rapidly across the country.
The government didn’t move to impose restrictions, and allowed millions of people, mostly unmasked, to attend crowded religious festivals, protests and political rallies held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and other politicians from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and opposition parties, Reuters reported.
Now India is facing a crushing wave of new infections, forcing overpacked hospitals to lock their gates as millions scramble for treatment and morgues overflow with COVID-19’s victims. Even a belated mass vaccination campaign is stumbling, with states running out of shots as infection rates soared to over 400,000 cases a day and deaths top 3,500 per day.
People line up to receive their Covid-19 vaccines at a mass vaccination center on April 29, 2021 in Mumbai, India. Fariha Farooqui/Getty Images
The warning about the new variant, which