Coronavirus: India records deadliest day with 4.2K more fatalities
India on Wednesday reported over 4,200 COVID-19 deaths, marking the highest single-day spike in fatalities since the pandemic began. Reportedly, India currently accounts for one in three reported COVID-19 deaths worldwide. Even so, experts say that the tally is grossly underreported, estimating that the actual deaths and infections could be anywhere between five to 10 times higher. Here are more details.
India's caseload reaches 2.33 crore; death toll crosses 2.5 lakh
According to the Union Health Ministry, till Wednesday morning, India reported a total of 2,33,40,938 COVID-19 cases. The death toll has reached 2,54,197. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,93,82,642 patients have recovered, while 37,04,099 cases involve active infections. In the past 24 hours alone, India recorded 3,48,421 new infections and 4,205 fresh fatalities. 17,52,35,991 vaccine doses have been administered so far.
Record surge in Tamil Nadu for 28th consecutive day
Maharashtra's daily infections rose slightly as 40,956 more people tested positive in the state. Karnataka—the second worst-hit state after Maharashtra—reported 39,510 new cases, with 15,879 new cases in Bengaluru Urban district alone. Meanwhile, the third worst-hit Kerala added 37,290 new cases. Tamil Nadu—the fifth worst-hit—reported 29,272 new cases; the biggest spike for the 28th consecutive day.
West Bengal, Assam, Puducherry report biggest spikes
West Bengal, Assam, and Puducherry reported record single-day spikes of 20,136, 6,258, and 2,049 new cases, respectively. The COVID-19 situation also remained worrisome in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. Delhi has been witnessing a decline in infections. The national capital reported 12,481 new cases.
Second wave has peaked, say experts
India's COVID-19 outbreak has peaked and is showing early signs of flattening, experts say. However, virologist Shahid Jameel told The Indian Express that the decline in new infections will likely be slow since the plateau of 4 lakh daily cases is very high. Cambridge Judge Business School and NIESR researchers also highlighted that there is substantial variation between the outbreak trajectories of different states.
Shortage of cremation wood; bodies float up in Ganges
The brutal second wave of COVID-19 has ravaged India's healthcare system in both urban and rural areas. India's rural regions are running short of wood for cremations. Several bodies have floated up on the banks of the river Ganges in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Locals say people are immersing bodies in the river as crematoriums are overwhelmed and there is a shortage of wood.
Vaccines running short; lockdown calls ignored
The World Health Organization (WHO) has now classified B.1.617 variant—detected in at least 44 countries since it was identified in India—as a "variant of concern" requiring heightened tracking and analysis. India is also running short of vaccine stocks, particularly in Maharashtra and Delhi, two of the hardest-hit regions. Meanwhile, the central government continues to ignore calls for a nationwide lockdown.