A serious and alarmingly common symptom among those suffering from COVID-19 is shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Indeed, as the virus gained momentum, oxygen has become a scare and valuable commodity, required by many a critical patient. And so, as a video from Patanajali's COVID-19 hospital showing an individual wafting "ayurvedic smoke" surfaced, many were skeptical.
A Newslaundry report quotes a Patanjali representative at the Haridwar centre to explain that the the smoking container contained an ayurvedic mixture that would "increase oxygen in the wards". Visuals from the hospital show a robe-clad man walking through the aisle between beds with the vessel swinging from his hand. There are patients occupying several of the beds he walks past.
Earlier this year, Patanajali Ayurved teamed up with the Uttarakhand government to set up a 150 bed COVID-19 care hospital in Haridwar. At the time, Baba Ramdev had assured journalists that all beds had associated oxygen facilities and that there was an ICU for critical patients. As per reports at the time of inauguration, the hospital has 10 emergency beds and four ventilators.
Since then however, conflicting reports have emerged. As per the Newslaundry report, there are many unusual remedies that are being utilised at this centre - from shirodharas that will drip healing liquids onto patients with the aim of increasing immunity and curing skin problems to giving all patients Coronil.
More concerningly, reports indicate that the claims about the hospital's facilities are also somewhat misleading. Reportedly, the ICU beds are not functional, and only 50 of the 150 beds are operational with oxygen supplies.