India logs record nearly 300k COVID-19 cases

Kolkata, India: Novel coronavirus cases in India surged to over 295k remaining just shy of touching the somber 300k mark as the vast nation reels from the second and deadlier onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

India reported 2,95,041 new infections and 2,023 new fatalities in the last 24 hours alone.

According to the Union Health Ministry, India had registered 1,56,16,130 COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday morning. The death toll now stands at 1,82,553.

The national total has now reached 1.56 crore. Meanwhile, over 2,023 more patients died in the previous 24 hours—the worst day of the year—bringing the total to 1,82,553.

The daily positivity rate increased from 17 percent to 18 percent the previous day.

The record-breaking number of single-day infections in India is also the second-highest record of most infections in 24-hours anywhere else in the world since the pandemic began. 

Maharashtra, India's financial capital and home to the rich city of Mumbai, posted 62,097 new cases, representing a 23.3 percent daily positivity average. The total number of people in the state is now 39,60,359.

The total number of active states in the state was 6,83,856, with the majority concentrated in the worst-affected districts of Pune (1,17,521), Mumbai (82,671), Thane (80,440), and Nagpur (80,440).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi late Tuesday called on Indians to step up their efforts to battle the coronavirus so that fresh lockdowns are not necessary, as the vast nation reels from an explosion of cases and the capital run dangerously short of oxygen supplies.

In his first address since the start of the record-breaking new wave of infections, Modi acknowledged that the nation of 1.3 billion people was "once again fighting a big fight".

"The situation was under control till a few weeks back, and then this second corona wave came like a storm," the Indian leader told the nation in a televised speech.

Kerala, India's second-worst-affected state after Maharashtra, experienced a record increase of 19,577 new cases. On Sunday, the previous record high of 18,257 cases was recorded. The daily optimism rate was 17.4 percent.

India is currently amid a very tense virus situation with the country's healthcare infrastructure dangerously close to collapse. 

Hospitals across the nation are running out of beds and regional governments are forced to reimpose economically painful restrictions. 

As a second Covid wave wreaks havoc across India, heartbreaking stories of death and despair are emerging. Data indicates that this wave is becoming more contagious and lethal in some nations, despite the fact that India's death rate from the virus remains relatively low.

On June 18, last year, India reported 11,000 cases, and over the next 60 days, it added 35,000 new cases per day on average.

By February 10, at the start of the second wave, India confirmed 11,000 cases, with a daily average of around 22,000 cases over the next 50 days. However, over the next ten days, the number of cases increased dramatically, with the daily average hitting 89,800.

According to experts, the rapid increase indicates that the second wave is spreading even faster across the world.

Dr. A Fathahudeen, a member of Kerala state's Covid taskforce, told the BBC that the increase was not entirely unexpected given that India relaxed its guard in January when daily infections dropped to fewer than 20,000 from a peak of over 90,000 in September.

"I said in February that Covid had not gone anywhere and a tsunami would hit us if urgent actions were not taken. Sadly, a tsunami has indeed hit us now," he added.

"A false sense of normalcy crept in and everybody, including people and officials, did not take measures to stop the second wave," the doctor told the British Broadcast Corporation. 

COVER IMAGE COURTESY OF REUTERS VIA TWITTER

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