Their father was dying, so two brothers in India went on a desperate hunt for oxygen.

By Sameer Yasir

When 54-year-old Niranjan Saha started complaining of breathlessness at home last week in New Delhi, his wife, Usha Devi, immediately suspected the coronavirus. With India’s outbreak worsening and hospitals turning away patients, she rushed into their sons’ room.

“Do whatever you want but find me an oxygen cylinder,” Ms. Devi told Anikat, 21, and Mukul, 19. “Sell my gold, but get a cylinder.”

In India, amid probably the world’s gravest current outbreak, families beg for aid, and flames from funeral pyres burn day and night. Oxygen has become one of the scarcest commodities. On Wednesday, the Indian Health Ministry reported 3,293 deaths from the virus, taking the country’s toll to more than 200,000 since the pandemic began, and 357,000 new infections, breaking the global one-day record it set just days ago.

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