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Skyrocketing Indian Virus Cases Could Eclipse U.S. Outbreak

“This is the worst place where we could get the coronavirus.” 

Women walk past a fever clinic in Boisar, Maharashtra.

Women walk past a fever clinic in Boisar, Maharashtra.

Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

The novel coronavirus seemed like a distant problem in Boisar, a small factory town about two hours from Mumbai, until Daniel Tribhuvan died.

The 35-year-old tutor started feeling feverish in April, while bringing his father home from a chemotherapy appointment in the Indian financial capital. When a test confirmed Tribhuvan was infected, the local health system’s reaction was shambolic. After he checked into a public hospital, the first thing they did was try to pawn him off to a private facility in Mumbai. The ambulance turned around halfway when they discovered he couldn’t pay. Back at the public hospital, a doctor didn’t see him for three days, and when an elderly man occupying a bed nearby died, his body wasn’t collected for 12 hours. After a week, Tribhuvan’s blood-oxygen levels were dangerously low. He died on May 17, becoming Boisar’s first confirmed fatality from Covid-19.