India now has more than 4 lakh Covid-19 cases
Becomes the 4th nation after the US, Brazil and Russia to cross the grim milestone; 3 states account for 60% cases
NEW DELHI: The number of Covid-19 cases in India exceeded 400,000 on Saturday, including at least 13,000 deaths, with the country reporting a record number of daily new cases and becoming only the fourth nation after the US, Brazil and Russia to cross the grim milestone. On Saturday, 15,813 people were diagnosed with Covid-19, in the country’s highest single-day spike so far that took the total tally to 411,500 cases. The latest 100,000 infections in the country have been recorded in eight days.
NEW DELHI The number of Covid-19 cases in India exceeded 400,000 on Saturday, including at least 13,000 deaths, with the country reporting a record number of daily new cases and becoming only the fourth nation after the US, Brazil and Russia to cross the grim milestone.
On Saturday, 15,813 people were diagnosed with Covid-19, in the country’s highest single-day spike that took the total tally to 411,500 cases.
The pandemic appears to be accelerating in India at a time when most lockdown restrictions have been lifted to mitigate the economic impact of the restrictions that brought to a standstill most economic activity in the country.
The latest 100,000 infections in the country have been recorded in just eight days – lower than the 10 days it took for the previous 100,000 infections and 15 days for the 100,000 cases before that mark.
It took the country 78 days to cross the first 100,000 cases, a development experts attribute to the early imposition of the lockdown in India, when the country had just over 600 confirmed Covid-19 cases.
About 75% of the total infections in India have been reported between May 19 and June 20, according to data collated by HT.
Additionally, the positivity rate, or the average rate of samples testing positive for Covid-19 across the country, rose from 4.6% for the week ending May 17 to 7.8% for the week ending June 17. In absolute terms, 6.2% of the over 6.6 million samples have tested positive for the disease, according to latest data by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Out of these, 189,869 tests were conducted in the previous 24-hour period, ICMR said on Saturday morning.
The increase in the testing capacity, coupled with the rise in the number of patients being diagnosed for Covid-19, is an indication of the virus’ prevalence in India, experts say.
“It is only natural that if you test more, more people will test positive... India is currently at the ascending limb of the epidemic. We have not reached the peak [of infections] yet, and in this situation, this is what will happen [more people will test positive],” said Dr Lalit Kant, the former head of epidemiology and communicable disease at ICMR.
The spread of the disease, which originated in China late last year, crippled economies world over as countries put in place strict lockdowns and enforced social distancing norms to slow the infection’s rampage. The pathogen, named Sars-CoV-2 for its similarity to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome disease, has infected over 8.8 million people and claimed 464,294 lives globally.
Experts say the pandemic is now in its third surge of the outbreak – the first being in China, second in Europe and the US, and the latest thriving in Latin American countries such as Brazil, Peru and Chile along with India, Mexico and Russia.
In India, the three worst-hit states Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu account for nearly 60% of the total infections, with the contagion largely establishing a strong foothold in urban hot spots such as Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. According to figures by state health departments, Maharashtra saw 128,205 Covid-19 patients in the state and 5,984 deaths till Saturday. At 56,845 cases, Tamil Nadu — the second worst-hit state in the country — has less than half of Maharashtra’s tally, and 704 mortalities.
New Delhi reported 56,746 positive patients and 2,112 fatalities linked to the disease.
On Saturday, the total fatalities across the country stood at 13,278, reflecting a case fatality rate – defined as the proportion of deaths to the total infected patients – of 3.2%, much lower than the global rate of around 5.2%. Data also showed that 228,145 patients or 55.4% infected so far have recovered from the respiratory illness in India.
According to public health experts, controlling the number of deaths due to the disease – that particularly affects the elderly and those with existing medical ailments — is key to controlling the outbreak and will determine if the health infrastructure in the country will withstand the disease burden or buckle under it.