Coronavirus: India registers deadliest day, over 4 lakh new cases
India on Saturday reported more than 4,000 deaths linked to the coronavirus in a single day for the first time. The country, faced with the world's worst COVID-19 outbreak, also logged over four lakh daily cases for the third straight day. Though the ongoing wave is yet to peak, experts have already warned of a plausible third wave. Here are more details on this.
India reported 4.01 lakh coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, taking the country's overall caseload past 2.18 crore. 4,187 people died in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 2.38 lakh. India's active caseload now stands at over 37.23 lakh. As many as 24 states have reported a test positivity rate of over 15% over the last week, the government said.
Several states have announced sweeping restrictions in their attempt to curb the spread of the highly-contagious infection. More recently, southern states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, that are witnessing a sharp spike in cases, have announced lockdowns and curfew measures. The Karnataka government has imposed a two-week lockdown from Monday until May 24. In Tamil Nadu, a two-week curfew has been announced.
Several experts, including the United States' top pandemic guru, Dr. Anthony Fauci, have suggested a nationwide lockdown for India. Leaders of Opposition parties, including the Congress, have also called for the same. However, the central government remains non-committal over the matter.
Amid the surge in coronavirus cases, a rare fungal infection has been reported from several parts of India, including Delhi and Gujarat. Mucormycosis, also known as "Black fungus" is most commonly seen in patients who have recovered from the coronavirus but have comorbidities such as diabetes or cancer, doctors say. In some cases, the infection can lead to loss of eyesight or even death.
India's second wave peak is expected in the coming few days, according to experts. But several of them have already warned of a plausible third wave of the pandemic, that could be even deadlier. However, Dr. K VijayRaghavan, the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister, has said that a third wave may not hit India if strong measures are taken.
It is believed that the third wave, if it happens, will pose an added threat to the children. To deal with such a situation, the Maharashtra government has started preparing COVID-19 centers for children. India also doesn't have any anti-coronavirus vaccine for children as yet.
India had launched the world's largest inoculation program in January. However, the massive surge in infections and shortage of vaccine doses have derailed its plans. On Friday, India administered nearly 23 lakh doses. A total of 16.7 crore doses have been administered so far. Some experts say the country needs to administer around one crore doses daily to be able to curb the spread.