A man riding his bike on a street in Old New Delhi on April 19, 2021 as India’s capital is due to impose a week-long lockdown starting tonight, officials said as the megacity struggles to contain a huge surge in Covid-19 Cases with hospitals running out of beds and having low oxygen supplies.
Sajjad Hussain | AFP | Getty Images
India reported a new record spike in daily Covid-19 cases on Friday amid a deadly second wave that crippled its healthcare system.
Health ministry data showed there were 386,452 cases in a 24-hour period – the world’s highest daily increase. At least 3,498 people died during this time.
After the first wave peaked in September, it took hold of the South Asian country Six months until the number of cases rose from around 6 million to 12 million by the end of March. In April alone, India reported more than 6.6 million cases as the cumulative total rose to 18.76 million.
India is the second most severely affected country in the world based on the total number of reported cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University. However, recent reports suggest that India’s death toll is not adequately reported.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has come under increasing criticism for allowing large crowds to gather for religious festivals and election campaigns in different parts of the country. Commentators said the mass gatherings – which sometimes gathered millions – likely became super-spreader events.
The World Health Organization said this week that there are several mutant variants of the coronavirus floating around in India, which is likely to fuel the surge. Hospitals are overwhelmed by the lack of beds and supplies, including much-needed oxygen and medication.
Experts have said India’s best way to fight the pandemic is to vaccinate much of its 1.3 billion population to achieve herd immunity where the disease can no longer spread rapidly as most people live in the population have either been infected or vaccinated and who have done so will be immune to it. To date, the country has administered more than 150 million doses of vaccine, but only a small percentage of the population has completed vaccine doses two doses required.
As of May 1st, people between the ages of 18 and 45 can be vaccinated in India.
However, the country is facing vaccine shortages despite being the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines. The situation is expected to worsen as more people sign up to get their recordings.
India’s financial capital, Mumbai, will stop vaccinating people between April 30 and May 2, after stocks run out, according to city officials. “Every effort is made to get more stock and keep going,” said the Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation. Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located, is the epicenter of India’s second wave of infections.
Media reported that international aid has arrived in India. Reuters said the first U.S. flight carrying oxygen cylinders, regulators, rapid diagnostic kits, N95 masks and pulse oximeters arrived in Delhi on Friday.
The United States announced this week that it will send more than $ 100 million in medical aid to India, including supplies the South Asian country needs to boost vaccine production and produce over 20 million doses.