Marking a new milestone in the coronavirus pandemic, India has registered 312,731 new infections in a 24-hour period, the Indian Ministry of Health said on Thursday. It is the highest daily number of cases in a single country since the virus first appeared in China more than a year ago.
India’s total eclipsed the previous high of 300,669 one-day cases set in the United States on January 8, according to a New York Times database.
In the last two months, the outbreak in India has exploded, with reports of overcrowding, lack of oxygen and ambulances lined up outside hospitals because there are no ventilators for new patients.
As cases around the world reach new weekly records, 40% of infections come from India, which reminds us that the pandemic is far from over, even as infections decline and vaccinations accelerate in the United States and other rich parts. of the world. India surpassed 15.6 million total infections, second only to the United States.
The death toll also began to rise sharply.
On Thursday, the Indian government recorded 2,104 deaths and an average of more than 1,300 people died of the virus every day in the past week. This is lower than in the worst moments of the pandemic in the United States or Brazil, but it is a sharp rise just two months ago, when less than 100 people in India died every day.
There are signs that the country’s health system, uneven even before the pandemic, is collapsing under the stalk. On Tuesday, at least 22 people died in an accident in downtown Nashik, when a leak from a hospital’s main oxygen tank cut off oxygen flow to Covid-19 patients.
The picture is strikingly different from that in early February, when India averaged just 11,000 cases a day and domestic drug companies pumped millions of doses of the vaccine. More than 132 million Indians have received at least one dose, but supplies are running low and experts warn that the country is unlikely to meet its goal of inoculating 300 million people by summer.
Critics say Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who imposed a harsh nationwide stalemate in March 2020 in the early stages of the pandemic, has failed to prepare for a second wave or warn Indians to remain vigilant against the virus, more chosen that more infectious variants began to spread. .
Mr Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has also allowed a massive Hindu festival to take place, attracting millions of pilgrims to the banks of the Ganges River, and his party has held political rallies in several states.
“India’s rapid slide into this unprecedented crisis is a direct result of government satisfaction and unpreparedness,” the director of the Washington Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy said in The New York Times on Tuesday.
The hardest hit region is Maharashtra, a populous state in the west that includes the financial center of Mumbai. On Wednesday, the state leader ordered government offices to operate at 15% capacity and imposed new restrictions on weddings and private transportation to slow the spread of the virus.