India’s daily virus cases breach 100,000
India reported a record rise in COVID-19 infections on Monday, becoming the second country after the United States to post more than 100,000 new cases in a day, as politicians stage massive election rallies raising fears of further spreading the virus, reports Reuters.
Hospitals in the worst affected state, Maharashtra, are being overrun by patients. India’s richest state, home to its commercial capital Mumbai and numerous industries, reported a record 57,074 new cases overnight.
The country’s daily infections have risen about 12 fold since hitting a multi-month low in early February, when authorities eased most restrictions and people largely stopped wearing masks and following social distancing.
With 103,558 new infections, India has now reported 12.6 million cases, the highest after the United States and Brazil, data from the health ministry showed. Deaths jumped by 478, still one of the lowest fatality rates in the world, raising the total to 165,101.
India has recorded the most number of infections in the past week anywhere in the world. More infectious variants of the virus may have played a role in the second surge, some epidemiologists say.
“The new variant, or variants of concern, probably explains a lot of it, rather than simplistic explanation of behaviour,” said Rajib Dasgupta, head of the Centre of Social Medicine & Community Health in New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.
India has found hundreds of cases of the virus variants first detected in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.
Subhash Salunke, a former WHO official who advises Maharashtra on its COVID-19 strategy, said cases in the state would continue to rise for another couple of weeks. He said a way out was vaccinating all adults in its hardest-hit cities such as Mumbai, Pune and Nashik.
“If we start doing this, by the end of April we will see a downward trend,” he said.