The virus is swallowing our city’s people like a monster said Mamtesh Sharma an official at the site

In central Bhopal city, some crematoriums have increased their capacity from dozens of pyres to more than 50. Yet officials say there are still hours-long waits.

At the city’s Bhadbhada Vishram Ghat crematorium, workers said they cremated more than 110 people on Saturday, even as government figures in the entire city of 1.8 million put the total number of virus deaths at just 10.

“The virus is swallowing our city’s people like a monster,” said Mamtesh Sharma, an official at the site.

The unprecedented rush of bodies has forced the crematorium to skip individual ceremonies and exhaustive rituals that Hindus believe release the soul from the cycle of rebirth.

“We are just burning bodies as they arrive,” said Sharma. “It is as if we are in the middle of a war.”

The head gravedigger at New Delhi’s largest Muslim cemetery, where 1,000 people have been buried during the pandemic, said more bodies are arriving now than last year. “I fear we will run out of space very soon,” said Mohammad Shameem.

The situation is equally grim at unbearably full hospitals, where desperate people are dying in line, sometimes on the roads outside, waiting to see doctors.

Health officials are scrambling to expand critical care units and stock up on dwindling supplies of oxygen. Hospitals and patients alike are struggling to procure scarce medical equipment that is being sold at an exponential markup.

The crisis is in direct contrast with government claims that “nobody in the country was left without oxygen,” in a statement made Saturday by India’s Solicitor General Tushar Mehta before Delhi High Court.

The breakdown is a stark failure for a country whose prime minister only in January had declared victory over COVID-19, and which boasted of being the “world’s pharmacy,” a global producer of vaccines and a model for other developing nations.

Why does it matter?
Why does it matter?
Apart from being a date by which to judge the president, research suggests a president’s first 100 days are also heavy in legislative action and executive actions.

According to GovTrack, seven laws have been enacted in the current Congress, which is low compared to the number of laws passed in past presidencies. According to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight, Barack Obama signed 14 laws, George W. Bush signed seven and Bill Clinton signed 22 in their first 100 days. That compares to 76 for Roosevelt and 53 for Harry Truman.

Bimes’ research with Casey Dominguez and Dan Grushkevich shows that Biden has signed more reversals of a previous administration’s actions in the first 100 days than any president in history, she said. He has also signed the largest number of executive actions, which don’t require passage through Congress, but are tenuous because they can be withdrawn by a future president.

President Barack Obama addresses a prime time press conference on his 100th day in office in the East Room of the White House on April 29, 2009.
President Barack Obama addresses a prime time press conference on his 100th day in office in the East Room of the White House on April 29, 2009.
MANDEL NGAN, AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Trump also boasted about signing the most executive orders in his first 100 days, Bimes noted.

“You get the sense that they’re trying to outdo one another,” she said.

A study by professor Casey Dominguez, political science and international relations professor at the University of San Diego, found that presidents are more successful at passing legislation through Congress within their first 100 days in office compared to other times in their administrations, particularly if they are functioning in a politically divided government.

But research by John Frendreis, Raymond Tatalovich and Jon Schaffhas of Loyola University Chicago has shown that legislative pushes have been less fruitful in modern administrations than they were in Roosevelt’s time. The authors attribute the discrepancy to changes in how a modern Congress works, including a longer process to push through legislation.

Bimes looks at a combination of laws passed, Cabinet confirmations, executive orders, reversals and other factors to determine what a president has accomplished in the first 100 days.

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