Coronavirus: India reports 4,500 more deaths; deadliest day yet
On Wednesday, India reported over 4,500 more COVID-19 deaths, marking the deadliest day for the country since the pandemic began. However, the daily number of infections has been declining. Experts argue this may be because of improper surveillance. India reported 2.67 lakh new infections on Wednesday, down from a record number of 4.14 lakh single-day infections just two weeks ago. Here are more details.
India's tally reaches 2.54 crore cases, 2.83 lakh deaths
According to the Union Health Ministry, till Wednesday morning, India reported a total of 2,54,96,330 COVID-19 cases. The death toll has reached 2,83,248. So far, 2,19,86,363 patients have recovered, while 32,26,719 cases involve active infections. In the past 24 hours alone, India recorded 2,67,334 new infections, 3,89,851 more discharges, and 4,475 fresh fatalities. 18,58,09,302 vaccine doses have been administered so far.
Recoveries surpass fresh cases in worst-hit states
Maharashtra reported 28,438 new COVID-19 cases, down by 1,822 infections compared to Monday, along with 52,898 more recoveries. Karnataka—the second worst-hit state after Maharashtra—reported 30,309 new cases and 58,395 discharges. Meanwhile, the third worst-hit Kerala added 31,337 new cases and 45,926 recoveries. Uttar Pradesh reported 8,737 new cases and 21,108 recoveries. Tamil Nadu—the fifth worst-hit state—reported 33,059 new cases and 21,362 recoveries.
Cyclone Tauktae further disrupts response to COVID-19
In India's western and southern states, Cyclone Tauktae presented itself as additional trouble during a pre-existing crisis. Gujarat—where the cyclone made landfall—conducted COVID-19 tests on the two lakh people that were shifted to shelter homes. Several hospitals await backup generators amid a disrupted power supply, vaccinations have been suspended at least until Wednesday, and the state awaits additional oxygen supplies, Reuters reported.
India's vaccine policy needs a reset, says expert
Writing in the Hindustan Times, Chandrakant Lahariya—a public policy and health systems expert—called for a "reset" of India's vaccine policy. "For six weeks now, India's vaccination drive has been struggling," he said. "The political leadership should give a free hand to technical experts to decide and implement new strategies." India—which is looking to expand its vaccination drive—is facing a shortage of vaccines.
India may not resume vaccine export till October
India is unlikely to resume major exports of doses at least until October, Reuters reported citing government sources. Meanwhile, India's Biological E will start producing doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, aiming to produce 600 million doses annually.