Viewpoint: India's COVID-19 surge hits closer to home than you think 

India is facing a major COVID-19 surge after easing virus restrictions too soon, which has overwhelmed hospitals and dwindled the country's oxygen supply. While it's easy to mentally categorize the country's surge as a far-away problem, the situation poses real consequences for the whole world, The Washington Post editorial board wrote April 23.

In mid-February, India reported about 10,000 new cases daily. This week, that figure has surpassed 300,000 infections a day, according to the Post.

The longer virus transmission continues, the more opportunity the virus has to mutate, the editorial board said. While most mutations are insignificant, the world has seen how some — like the B.1.1.7 variant first found in the U.K. — can speed the virus's spread and cause more severe cases.

"India's out-of-control catastrophe — by its sheer scale — is a potential pressure cooker for still more variants," the editorial board said, noting the emergence of a new variant known as B.1.617 that originated in India and has two mutations previously seen in the variants first found in California, Brazil and South Africa. 

"Let's hope all of India can seize the moment and begin to reverse the course of this disaster," the board said. "India is not a far-away problem. In pandemic time and distance, every place is nearby."


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