Covid-19: India’s caseload soars beyond 25mn mark


India’s cumulative covid-19 cases have soared beyond the 25 million mark, fuelled by 263,533 new infections over the last 24 hours, while deaths from COVID-19 increased by a staggering 4,329.

After the United States, India is the world’s second country to reach the dreadful landmark. According to health ministry data released on Tuesday, the country’s overall caseload is now at 25.23 million, with 278,719 deaths.

Last week, the official daily case count started to decrease, with new infections falling to 281,386 on Monday, the lowest number since April 21.

After a drop in infections in recent days, experts said there was no guarantee that infections have peaked, with concern emerging at home and abroad about the spread of the latest, more infectious B.1.617 form.

The World Health Organization’s chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said “There are still many parts of the country which have not yet experienced the peak, they are still going up”

Swaminathan cited the alarmingly high national positivity score, which stands at about 20% of all surveys, as an indication that things might get worse.

Photographs and television photographs of funeral pyres burning in parking lots and bodies washed up on the shores of the Ganges river have heightened impatience with the government’s management of the crisis.

Official estimates are commonly believed to greatly underestimate the true impact of the outbreak, with certain analysts estimating that actual illnesses and fatalities maybe five to ten times greater.

While the first outbreak of the pandemic in India, which peaked in September, was mostly localized in urban areas, where surveillance was initiated more quickly, the second wave, which began in February, is sweeping across rural towns and villages, home to roughly two-thirds of the country’s 1.35 billion population, and where testing is desperately needed.

On Twitter, S Vincent Rajkumar, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in the United States, said, “This drop in confirmed covid-19 cases in India is an illusion.”

Though lockdowns also managed to contain cases in areas of the country where an initial wave of infections occurred in February and April, such as Maharashtra and Delhi, rural areas and some states are experiencing new outbreaks.

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