The coronavirus outbreak in India is getting worse day by day and has just reached a grim new record.
The country reported a record 401,993 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday. No other country has violated 400,000 cases daily.
Crematoriums across India are overwhelmed with bodies. Patients are breathless and dying as hospitals run out of oxygen. The country had reported more than 300,000 new cases every day for nine consecutive days before hitting the 400,000 mark.
India also reported more than 3,500 deaths on Saturday – the fourth day in a row that the death toll has exceeded 3,000. Those numbers are likely undercounted. A New York Times investigation released this week found “growing evidence” to suggest the deaths are “overlooked or minimized” by the government.
“From all the models we’ve done, we think the actual number of deaths is two to five times what is reported,” University of Michigan epidemiologist Bhramar Mukherjee told The Times.
Experts polled by Reuters suggested the death toll may even be five to ten times higher than what is being reported. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not respond to the allegations.
“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” said Ashish Jha, physician and dean of the faculty of public health at Brown University. mentionned of India’s outbreak on Twitter on Saturday.
The rapidly spreading coronavirus variants are perhaps the biggest culprit in India’s horrific new wave. But a number of other factors also contributed to their spread: massive social gatherings, a slow roll-out of vaccines, and a healthcare system that was sadly unprepared for the influx of patients.
“It was a collective and shocking political failure,” Jha wrote in an editorial in the Hindustan Times on Saturday, where he described the steps he believes India needs to take “urgently and effectively.”
Jha said Indian authorities should act quickly to stop indoor rallies, implement a nationwide mask mandate, step up testing, increase drug and oxygen supplies, step up vaccination efforts and do more genome sequencing to track COVID-19 variants.
“May is going to be horrible in India. June is going to be difficult. If we take the steps outlined here, we are going to see real progress in June and by July things could be significantly better,” he said. . “But if we do these things in a timid manner now, the nightmare India is currently experiencing will last longer.”
The United States, which pledged earlier this week to help India produce more vaccines, has imposed new travel restrictions on the country due to the coronavirus outbreak. Friday’s decision temporarily bars most non-U.S. Citizens from entering the United States.
Sophia Ankel and Aria Bendix contributed to the reporting.
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