Journalist dies from suspected Covid after frantic tweets for help

Yahoo News Australia and agencies
·4-min read

A journalist, desperate for medical attention, has died from Covid-19 after his desperate pleas for help on Twitter went viral.

Vinay Srivastava, a freelance journalist from Lucknow, India, died on April 17 after he experienced Covid-19 symptoms and was denied medical treatment, The Print reported.

Mr Srivastava, 65, tweeted all the doctors and hospitals in the area had become "autocratic" and that his oxygen levels had dropped to 52.

He added no hospitals lab or doctors were picking up the phone.

Screenshot of Vinay Srivastava's tweet which says:
Journalist Vinay Srivastava tweeted about not being able to get medical treatment before he died in India. Source: Twitter

In a separate tweet he explained he had been tested for coronavirus, but the results were not back yet, so he questioned what he could do in the meantime.

On Twitter, an account offered to coordinate help and asked for Mr Srivastava to provide details.

"My oxygen is 31 when some will help me," Mr Srivastava responded.

Mr Srivastava's son, Harshit, was at the Chief Medical Officer's office when he found out his father's oxygen levels had fallen below 50.

The Print reported Harshit had already been to three hospitals to try and get help for his father. He was waiting outside the office for hours, seeking a letter from the CMO to get his father admitted.

Indian journalist Vinay Srivastava showing his oxygen levels dropping to 31. Source: Twitter/@VinaySr18286715
Journalist Vinay Srivastava pleaded for help on Twitter, as his oxygen levels dropped drastically and he showed symptoms of Covid-19. Source: Twitter/@VinaySr18286715

Harshit explained his family is still awaiting his father's results to confirm he had Covid-19.

"No hospital is willing to admit him without a Covid positive report, even though he has all the symptoms of the disease,” he said.

"The plea of journalist Vinay Srivastava was not heard while he was alive, but even after his death, his family kept waiting for the ambulance," Dr Surya Pratap Singh posted, along with a devastating photo of what looks to be Mr Srivastava's family grieving by his bedside.

"The eyes of the government 'chaos' symbol were filled with eyes."

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India reports thousands of new cases daily

On April 17, India registered 234,692 COVID-19 new infections over its most recent 24 hour reporting period, taking the total number of cases in the country to nearly 14.5 million, second only to the United States.

More than 261,000 cases were recorded in India on Sunday.

Criticism has mounted over the Indian government's handling of the health crisis, as religious festivals and election rallies continue amid increasing reports of shortages of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and vaccination doses.

Reuters reported on April 16 Covid patients in India's capital New Delhi were forced to share hospital beds.

At Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP), one of India’s largest Covid-only facilities with more than 1,500 beds, a stream of ambulances ferried patients to the overflowing casualty ward on Thursday.

From an initial 54 beds, the hospital now has over 300 for Covid-19 patients in critical condition. Even that is not enough.

Bodies of the recently deceased lie outside the ward before being taken to the mortuary.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to hold two election rallies in the eastern state of West Bengal where state elections are ongoing.

Indian doctors wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)  examine patients inside a COVID 19 care centre and isolation ward facility near a Hospital in New Delhi, 13 April 2021.
Around 14 private hospitals in Delhi, have been turned into Covid-19 treatment facilities. Source: EPA/RAJAT GUPTA

In recent weeks, such rallies have attracted thousands of people, few of whom follow COVID-19 safety protocols.

Earlier in April, Mr Srivastava tweeted about mass gatherings such as election rallies, questioning why the Election Commission and the Supreme Court were remaining "silent" on such gatherings being permitted amid the pandemic. 

With Reuters

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