India has marked a grim new milestone as the COVID-19 crisis rages through the country, with 300,000 dead and 26 million confirmed cases.
India has marked a grim new milestone as the COVID-19 crisis continues to devastate the country.
Tragically, the nation has now recorded more than 300,000 coronavirus deaths and 27 million cases, making it the world epicentre of the pandemic.
On Monday, India’s health ministry recorded 4454 new deaths in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 303,720.
India has become only the third country in the world, behind Brazil and the US, to record a death toll of more than 300,000.
The figures are reportedly almost certain to be an underestimate of the real number of cases and deaths, with rural areas not accurately scrutinised.
Its deadly second wave has, apart from swamping the nation’s healthcare system, overwhelmed the capacity of cremation and burial sites to cope with the sheer volume of bodies.
Space is so short for the COVID-19 dead, that makeshift sites in backyards, public parks and even the shores of the River Ganges have been inundated in Uttar Pradesh state.
The rate of new infections and fatalities in India is also rapidly escalating, with its first 100,000 dead recorded last October, seven months after the country’s first known death.
The death toll reached 200,000 in April and just 27 days later had passed 300,000.
Sadly, experts are convinced the horrific daily death toll will only continue to rise.
“We expect a delay between cases peaking and deaths peaking. But also, as with cases, we know there are huge variations in death surveillance and recording between states, and between urban and rural areas,” mathematician Dr Murad Banaji told the BBC.
“Even once recorded fatalities start to fall, we’ll need to be wary of reading too much into this until we stop hearing reports of large numbers of rural deaths.”
The Indian government has increased testing, but the vaccine roll out has slowed because it does not have enough supplies to administer despite producing the largest number of vaccines in the world.
The big cities of Mumbai and New Delhi, which have borne the brunt of the second wave, are beginning to ease slightly, but poorly serviced rural areas are expected to surge.
Of its population of 1.4 billion, just 3.8 per cent, or 41.6 million people, have been immunised.
Source: India: COVID-19 crisis reaches grim new milestone of 300,000 dead (news.com.au)