A new variant known here as “the double mutant” may be doing a lot of the damage. The science is still early but from what we know, this variant contains one mutation that may make the virus more contagious and another that may make it partially resistant to vaccines. Doctors are pretty scared. Some we have spoken to said they had been vaccinated twice and still got seriously ill, a very bad sign.

So what can you do?

I try to stay positive, believing that is one of the best immunity boosters, but I find myself drifting in a daze through the rooms of our apartment, listlessly opening cans of food and making meals for my kids, feeling like my mind and body are turning to mush. I’m afraid to check my phone and get another message about a friend who has deteriorated. Or worse. I’m sure millions of people have felt this way, but I’ve started imagining symptoms: Is my throat sore? What about that background headache? Is it worse today?

My part of town, South Delhi, is now hushed. Like many other places, we had a strict lockdown last year. But now doctors here are warning us that the virus is more contagious, and the chances of getting help are so much worse than they were during the first wave. So many of us are scared to step outside, like there’s some toxic gas we’re all afraid to breathe.

India is a story of scale, and it cuts both ways. It has a lot of people, a lot of needs and a lot of suffering. But it also has lot of technology, industrial capacity and resources, both human and material. I almost teared up the other night when the news showed an Indian Air Force jet load up with oxygen tanks from Singapore to bring to needy parts of the country. The government was essentially airlifting air.

However difficult and dangerous it feels in Delhi for all of us, it’s probably going to get worse. Epidemiologists say the numbers will keep climbing, to 500,000 reported cases a day nationwide and as many as one million Indians dead from Covid-19 by August.

It didn’t have to be like this.

India was doing well up until a few weeks ago, at least on the surface. It locked down, absorbed the first wave, then opened up. It maintained a low death rate (at least by official statistics). By winter, life in many respects had returned to something near normal.

I was out reporting in January and February, driving through towns in central India. No one — and I mean no one, including police officers — was wearing a mask. It was like the country had said to itself, while the second wave was looming: Don’t worry, we got this.

Few people feel that way now.

Mr. Modi remains popular among his base but more people are blaming him for failing to prepare India for this surge and for holding packed political rallies in recent weeks where few precautions were enforced — possible super-spreader events.

“Social distancing norms have gone for a complete toss,” said one Delhi newscaster the other day, during a broadcast of one of Mr. Modi’s rallies.

In India, as elsewhere, the wealthy can pad the blow of many crises. But this time it’s different.

A well-connected friend activated his entire network to help someone close to him, a young man with a bad case of Covid. My friend’s friend died. No amount of pull could get him into a hospital. There were just too many other sick people.

“I tried everything in my power to get this guy a bed, and we couldn’t,” my friend said. “It’s chaos.”

His feelings were raw.

“This is a catastrophe. This is murder.”

I take few risks except to get food for my family that can’t be delivered. I wear two masks and cut wide berths around as many people as I can.

But most days pass with the four of us marooned inside. We try to play games, we try not to talk about who just got sick or who’s racing around this besieged city looking for help they probably won’t find.

Sometimes we just sit quietly in the living room, looking out at the ficus and palm trees.

Through the open window, on long, still, hot afternoons, we can hear two things: Ambulances. And birdsong.

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