Coronavirus: India's tally crosses 3cr; last 1cr in 50 days
India on Wednesday reported over 50,000 new COVID-19 cases. The nation's tally has now crossed three crore, becoming only the second country to mark the grim milestone after the United States. Notably, the last one crore coronavirus infections were added in just 50 days. India had crossed the one crore mark on December 19, 2020, and the two crore mark on May 4, 2021.
India's tally crosses 3 crore; over 3.9 lakh dead
According to the Union Health Ministry, till Wednesday morning, India reported a total of 3,00,28,709 COVID-19 cases. The death toll has reached 3,90,660. So far, 2,89,94,855 patients have recovered, while 6,43,194 cases involve active infections. In the past 24 hours alone, India recorded 50,848 new infections, 68,817 more discharges, and 1,358 fresh fatalities. 29,46,39,511 vaccine doses have been administered so far.
70% new cases concentrated in 5 states
Maharashtra reported 8,470 new COVID-19 cases along with 9,043 more recoveries. Karnataka, the second worst-hit state after Maharashtra, reported 3,709 new cases and 8,111 discharges. Meanwhile, the third worst-hit Kerala added 12,617 new cases and 11,730 recoveries. Tamil Nadu, the fourth worst-hit state, reported 6,895 new cases and 13,156 recoveries. Andhra Pradesh reported 4,169 new cases and 8,376 recoveries.
Delta+ now 'Variant of Concern'; over 40 cases across India
Meanwhile, India has identified the 'Delta Plus' variant of SARS-CoV-2 as a Variant of Concern. More than 40 cases of the new strain have been detected and the government has issued a warning to three states with high prevalence: Maharashtra (21 cases), Madhya Pradesh (six), and Tamil Nadu (three). Karnataka reported two cases while Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, and J&K reported one each.
Pfizer vaccine's approval in 'final stages'; COVAXIN 77.8% effective
Separately, Pfizer said on Tuesday it is in the "final stages" of securing emergency approval for its vaccine in India. The mRNA vaccine is over 90% effective. The Subject Expert Committee under the Drugs Controller General of India has approved Phase III of Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN, which it found to be 77.8% effective. COVAXIN could be available for kids aged 2-18 years by September.
AstraZeneca vaccine linked to rare neurological disorder
In a worrying development though, 11 people who received the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine (labeled Covishield in India) have developed a rare neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome, showed two studies published in the journal Annals of Neurology on June 10. One study found seven such cases at a medical center in Kerala. All seven patients developed severe GBS. Another study found four cases in Nottingham, UK.