India COVID-19: record 273k new cases added in one day

Kolkata, India: India's daily caseload of the newly infected from the novel coronavirus touched an all-time high Monday, logging a whopping 270k plus new cases in a single day -- higher than anywhere else in the world.

Over 1,600 more patients died in the previous 24 hours—the worst day of the year—bringing the total to 1,78,769.

On the same day, at least 15 of India's 36 states and union territories recorded a record increase in infections.

According to the Union Health Ministry, India announced a total of 1,50,61,919 COVID-19 cases as of Monday morning. The death toll now stands at 1,78,769.

Maharashtra, India's richest state logged 68,631 new cases, the highest single-day increase for the third day in a row. The daily positivity rate was 25.1 percent.

The total number of cases in the state is now 38,39,338, including 6,70,388 active cases. The state also added 503 deaths, bringing the total to 60,473.

Meanwhile, Kerala posted an all-time high of 18,257 new COVID-19 cases in 24-hours. The daily positivity rate was 16.7 percent.

The overall caseload for the state has reached 12,39,424, with 93,686 active cases. 25 more people were killed, bringing the total death toll to 4,929.

Both Maharashtra and Kerela have mandated RT-PCR tests for entry. 

Karnataka posted 19,067 new cases, the highest number for the fourth day in a row. The total number of cases has risen to 11,61,065, including 1,33,543 active cases.

The death toll increased by 81, bringing it to 13,351. Bengaluru Urban alone contributed 12,793 new cases and 60 new deaths, accounting for over half of the state's caseload.

For the fifth consecutive day, Tamil Nadu reports 10 723 new COVID-19 cases.

The state now has a total of 9,91,451 cases, including 70,391 active. The State's death toll was pushed to 13,113 by 42 more deaths in the last 24-hours. A curfew and a weekend lockout have been declared.

Weeklong curfew in Delhi

For the third day in a row, Delhi posted 25,462 COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day increase. In one day, 85,620 samples were checked, indicating a daily positivity rate of 29.74 percent.

The total number of cases in Delhi has risen to 8,53,460. (74,941 active cases).

The Delhi government declared a week-long lockdown on Monday in response to the worsening COVID-19 situation in the national capital. The lockdown will take effect at 10 p.m. on Monday.

This came after the weekend curfew was enacted in Delhi, earlier this week. 

"Delhi's health system is at a tipping point. The Covid-19 situation is pretty critical," Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a televised address.

"If we don't impose a lockdown now, we will be looking at a bigger disaster. From tonight there will be a lockdown until next Monday."

The record-breaking number of cases come amid a high-time in India, as the nation battle an influx of second-wave upsurge of COVID-19.

The central government just recently announced it's expanding its vaccination drive to all the adults (18-years or older) in the country. 

What to do?

Professor & Canada Research Chair of Epidemiology & Global Health, Dr. Madhu Pai and Krutika Kupali, ID, Global Health, and two times U.S. Congress COVID-19 expert witness has made a slew of suggestions targeted toward India. 

No other nation in the world is currently witnessing more COVID-19 cases than India.

A second wave was unavoidable, Soutik Biswas, the BBC India correspondent writes, but India could have "postponed or delayed it and lessened its effect," according to Gautam Menon, a physics and biology professor.

Mr. Menon believes that India, like many other countries, should have begun careful genomic surveillance in January to detect variants.

Some of these variants may be behind the uptick. India learned about new variants in February from Maharashtra-based sources. Authorities initially denied this, Mr. Menon went on to say.

This was a major watershed moment he said. 

Some of the points that the two health experts have suggested include:

  • Banning all rallies gatherings, 'melas', events, weddings, etc.
  • Closing cinemas, mall, sports events.
  • Rapidly build field hospital with oxygen capacity for Covid-19.
  • Mandating self-isolation and provide resources to do so (eg. food, cash).
  • Increasing the rollout of the covid-19 vaccine
  • Contracting all Indian vaccine companies to manufacture doors and import vaccines from outside the country
  • Contracting all companies capable of making oxygen to boost capacity
  • Importing oxygen PPE testing supplies and other resources
  • Mandating masks in all states and distributes the free mask
  • Increasing covid-19 testing capacity and use rapid antigen test
  • Setting up a hotline for tele medication support for home management of mild cases
  • Pausing international travel out of India
  • Pausing non-essential travel within India
  • Working with all research agencies to increase genetic sequencing and track variations of concern

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