Coronavirus: India records deadliest day with 3,780 more fatalities
India reported a record number of 3,780 fresh COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, the highest number of single-day fatalities since the pandemic began.
The number of single-day infections also rose to 3.82 lakh even as the number of tests dropped to 15.4 lakh. The test positivity rate stood at a high 24.8%.
Experts say the actual tally could be five to 10 times higher.
India total tally now reaches 2.06 crore
According to the Union Health Ministry, till Wednesday morning, India reported a total of 2,06,65,148 COVID-19 cases. The death toll has reached 2,26,188.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,69,51,731 patients have recovered, while 34,87,229 cases involve active infections.
In the past 24 hours alone, India recorded 3,82,315 new infections and 3,780 fresh fatalities.
16,04,94,188 vaccine doses have been administered so far.
891 new deaths in Maharashtra alone
Of the 3,780 new fatalities, Maharashtra reported 891, followed by Uttar Pradesh (351), Delhi (288), Karnataka (210), Chhattisgarh (210), Punjab (173), Rajasthan (154), Haryana (153), and Tamil Nadu (144).
Several states/union territories reported record spikes in infections including Tamil Nadu (21,228 new cases), West Bengal (17,639), Haryana (15,786), Uttarakhand (7,028), Jammu and Kashmir (4,680), Himachal Pradesh (3,824), Meghalaya (339), and Arunachal Pradesh (234).
Surge in infections coincides with vaccine shortfall
Vaccinations in India have dropped from 45 lakh a day in early April to 16 lakh as several states complain about a shortage of doses, which has led to a shutdown of some vaccination centers.
Meanwhile, India has widened its vaccination drive to include the 18-44 age group.
The production capacity is not expected to be ramped up until July.
Calls for nationwide lockdown grow; Centre reluctant
India's Opposition has notably called for a nationwide lockdown.
On Tuesday, the Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi, Dr. Randeep Guleria, also urged the Centre to impose an "aggressive" nationwide lockdown, warning about a future "third wave" if increased transmissions lead to rapid mutations.
However, the Centre is reluctant to impose a nationwide lockdown.
Parliamentary panel had warned about inadequate oxygen last November
As early as November, a parliamentary standing committee on health had warned about an inadequate supply of oxygen and "grossly inadequate" government hospital beds.
India is now facing a shortage of hospital beds and medical oxygen along with other key medical supplies.
Morgues and crematoriums are also overwhelmed as deaths have sky-rocketed. Experts say the official death toll is grossly underreported.
Concerns over more contagious variant ignored in March
In early March, an expert group of scientists set up by the government had warned officials about a more contagious variant.
At the time, Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan had said that India is in the "endgame" of the pandemic, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared COVID-19 beaten.