Coronavirus: India reports lowest spike in nearly 4 months
India on Tuesday reported under 35,000 new COVID-19 cases, marking the lowest single-day spike in 111 days. The number of single-day fatalities also dropped to 553, the lowest in 91 days. The COVID-19 situation in India has significantly improved since the second wave peaked in early May, however, the administration and experts urge a strict vigil as a third wave could hit next month.
India's tally reaches 3.06 crore; 4.03 lakh dead
According to the Union Health Ministry, till Tuesday morning, India reported a total of 3,06,19,932 COVID-19 cases. The death toll has reached 4,03,281. So far, 2,97,52,294 patients have recovered, while 4,64,357 cases involve active infections. In the past 24 hours alone, India recorded 34,703 new infections, 51,864 more discharges, and 553 fresh fatalities. 35,75,53,612 vaccine doses have been administered so far.
67.5% new cases concentrated in 5 states
Maharashtra reported 6,740 new COVID-19 cases along with 13,027 more recoveries. Kerala, the second worst-hit state after Maharashtra, reported 8,037 new cases and 11,346 discharges. Meanwhile, the third worst-hit Karnataka added 2,848 new cases and 5,631 recoveries. Tamil Nadu, the fourth worst-hit state, reported 3,715 new cases and 4,029 recoveries. Andhra Pradesh reported 2,100 new cases and 3,435 recoveries.
Delta 8 times less sensitive to vaccine-generated antibodies: Study
Worryingly, a yet-to-be peer-reviewed Indian study has found that, in vitro, the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.617.2) is eight times less sensitive to antibodies generated by COVID-19 vaccines. The study, conducted on over 100 healthcare workers across three sites in India, found that the Delta variant is more transmissible and better able to evade prior immunity compared to other variants in all scenarios.
Sputnik V at state-run facilities soon
On another note, Russia's COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V will soon be available at government-run facilities, Dr. NK Arora—the chairperson of the government's COVID-19 working group—told The Times of India. Currently, the vaccine is only available in the private hospitals. It is over 90% effective. Two other vaccines (Covishield and COVAXIN) have been rolled out, while Moderna's vaccine will reportedly reach India this week.
Germany eases curbs on travelers from India
Further, Germany has eased COVID-19 curbs on travelers from four countries: India, Nepal, Portugal, Russia, and the United Kingdom. These countries are no longer areas of "variant of concern," Germany's public health institute observed. Separately, India's Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to allow Rath Yatras in temples other than the Puri Jagannath Temple—which is allowed to hold the Yatra on July 12 with restrictions.