COVID-19 Crisis in India as Second Wave Surges through Country - CARE

COVID-19 Crisis in India

An Indian woman wearing a blue mask rests on her side in a hospital bed. Behind her, other patients rest in beds.

Photo by Naveen Sharma/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Photo by Naveen Sharma/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images


The second wave of COVID-19 is raging across India with multiple disease strains and devastating impacts. Since late March 2021, it has been a relentless onslaught of increasing caseloads and fatalities.

About the COVID-19 Crisis in India

The massive second surge in COVID-19 infections completely overwhelmed India’s health system in April, May, and most of June. Hospitals across the country ran out of beds, oxygen, medical equipment, and personal protective equipment (PPE). While reported active cases have fallen over the past two weeks and we are seeing a rise in the number of discharged people, the daily death count isn’t coming down as quickly as hoped. Of particular concern are rural areas that do not have proper testing facilities or health care infrastructure, and where vaccine hesitancy remains high.

of India's population has been vaccinated

as of August 2021

How to Help India Fight COVID-19 – What CARE is Doing

Since the onset of the second surge, CARE has been working with state governments to establish COVID-19 care centers and distribute life-saving oxygen and medical supplies in priority areas. We continue to sustain those activities while also ramping up clinical care capabilities at the community and district levels as well as support vaccine rollout strategies.

To date, 10% of the Indian population has been fully vaccinated, compared to 1.2% in late April. Addressing vaccine hesitancy, community mobilization, and 24/7 mega-vaccination campaigns are top priorities to stop the spread and prevent future waves. There are also education and employment challenges that need to be addressed in marginalized communities, where schools have been closed and daily wage earners haven’t been able to work. Families have little or no money for the basics, including food.

Many children have lost parents or have been abandoned during the pandemic. While strengthening health systems and scaling vaccinations are being prioritized, CARE also is meeting the needs of orphaned children as well as supporting educational and livelihood needs that have an equally detrimental impact if left unaddressed.

A man dispenses hand sanitizer into a woman's hand. They are outside and both wearing masks. Behind them, other people are walking around, all wearing masks.
Patients and citizens of the Bihar region of India are caught up in an overwhelming COVID-19 crisis. This picture shows healthcare response in the first COVID-19 wave to hit India. Photo credit: CARE
Headshot image of Manoj Gopalakrishna, CEO of CARE India

“COVID-19 Wave 2 is raging through India with multiple genomic strains and devastating impact with increasing caseloads and fatalities. Given our collaborations with the central and state governments delivering health programs and responding to emergencies for over 70 years, CARE India has aligned its response with the government to ensure support where it is needed most. We will be setting up temporary COVID-19 hospitals and COVID Care Centers, ramp up the vaccination drives based on government guidelines, launch awareness campaigns for COVID-19 appropriate behavior, and also, like in the first wave of the crisis, address food security needs of migrants and PPE material for frontline workers.”

— Manoj Gopalakrishna, CEO, CARE India

Progress so far

We have directly and indirectly reached more than 10 million people, primarily through COVID-19 treatment, prevention activities, and vaccination campaigns.

With our existing corporate donors, CARE India has initiated a response on the ground. One corporate donor, AVT McCormick, has supported us in providing 24,000 individuals with a kit consisting of masks and sanitizers in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Our work and latest updates can be found at

*Last updated August 2021