Discuss India’s Deepening COVID-19 Crisis

Monday, May 10, 2021
India Covid-19

New Dehli resident, Om Prakash, discusses the COVID-19 crisis in India.

India's Covid-19 Crisis

Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. To read the transcript of the video below, click here. Note: This video does contain graphic images of bodies of COVID victims prepared for cremation.

The COVID-19 crisis in India shows little sign of slowing down. As death tolls and infections skyrocket, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership is under increasing political pressure and scrutiny. The country is short on vaccines, and other life-saving supplies like oxygen and antiviral drugs. William Brangham speaks to Indian reporter Barkha Dutt about what she’s seeing on the ground.

  • India has seen as many as 400,000 new infections per day recently, and many thousands of recorded deaths due to COVID each day. (Note that India has a population of over 1.3 billion, more than four times as many people as the United States). 
  • Many hospitals have run out of oxygen supplies needed to treat patients. India does not have access to enough vaccine doses, and only 2% of the population has been vaccinated (by comparison, nearly 33% of the U.S. has been vaccinated).
  • Some have partially blamed India’s President Modi for allowing large political rallies and other gatherings for the rapid spread of COVID. Modi has also resisted imposing additional lockdowns.


Discussion Questions: India's Covid-19 Crisis: 

Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who is interviewed in this piece, and what loss did she experience recently?
  • What are some shortages India is facing that make recovery from COVID more difficult?
  • When did the current COVID spike in India begin?
  • Why does the Indian government want to avoid imposing additional lockdowns, according to this piece?
  • How has the international community including the U.S. government responded to the crisis in India?

Then have students share with the class or through a Learning Management System (LMS).

Focus questions:

  1. What ways do you think the U.S. government could help ease the crisis in India? Do you think the U.S. government should share some of its vaccine supply? Why or why not?
  2. What do you think the advantages are to U.S. citizens of helping end COVID-19 outbreaks in other parts of the world?

Media Literacy: How is Barkha Dutt, the journalist interviewed here, reporting from an unusual perspective? Do you think her closeness to the crisis adds important perspective to the story?

Dig Deeper: What can U.S. citizens including students do to help? Read this story for ideas, or you can brainstorm ideas as a class.


Republished with permission form PBS NewsHour Extra.