India's daily COVID-19 cases cross 1L after 7 months
India reported over 1,17,000 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the highest single-day surge in more than 200 days. Meanwhile, the country's tally of infections involving the new Omicron variant jumped by 377 to reach 3,007, according to data from the Union Health Ministry. The central government has urged several states and union territories to ramp up testing.
Why does this story matter?
- Daily cases in India have crossed the one-lakh mark for the first time in seven months. Over one lakh cases were last registered on June 6, 2021.
- Further, India's daily COVID-19 cases have surged from 10,000 to over a lakh in a matter of eight days.
- Experts fear the speedy spread of the virus could once again overwhelm health systems, leading to more fatalities.
20K+ infections in Mumbai alone
The new cases reported on Friday morning mark a big jump from Thursday's figures of around 91,000. Maharashtra accounted for 36,265 of the new cases, while 20,181 were reported in the state capital Mumbai alone, marking the city's highest-ever one-day spike in infections. India also recorded 302 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24-hour period. Meanwhile, the country's total caseload has crossed 3,52,25,000.
Omicron in 27 states; Maharashtra worst-hit
The Omicron variant, first detected in India in early December, has since spread to 27 states and UTs. Maharashtra has recorded the highest number of Omicron infections at 876, followed by national capital Delhi (465 infections), Karnataka (333), Rajasthan (291), Kerala (284), Gujarat (204), and Tamil Nadu (121). Moreover, two deaths linked to the Omicron strain have been reported in India so far.
India's 'R' value touches record high
India's "R" value, which indicates how quickly the virus is spreading, has been recorded at 2.69. This is much higher than the 1.69 recorded at the peak of the second wave of the pandemic last year. Omicron is "the predominant circulating strain," the Indian Council of Medical Research said. Several states and UTs, including Bihar, have announced additional curbs in view of the situation.
'Omicron is hospitalizing and killing people'
Meanwhile, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the chief of the World Health Organization (WHO), has warned that Omicron should not be dismissed as mild. He stated a record number of people are catching the virus and hospitals are burdened. "Omicron is hospitalizing people and it is killing people... In fact, the tsunami of cases is so huge and quick...it is overwhelming health systems," he said.