In the last month alone, daily cases have gone up eight times and deaths by ten times.
New Covid-19 deaths surged past 4,000 for the first time in India on Saturday in one of the world's worst outbreaks as calls for a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the virus mounted.
India's health ministry reported 4,092 fatalities over the past 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 242,362. New cases rose by 403,738, just shy of the record and increasing the total since the start of the pandemic to 22.3 million.
India has been hit hard by a second COVID-19 wave with cases and deaths hitting record highs every other day. With an acute shortage of oxygen and beds in many hospitals and morgues and crematoriums overflowing, experts have said the actual numbers for COVID-19 cases and fatalities could be far higher.
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New Delhi has struggled to contain the outbreak, which has overwhelmed its healthcare system, and many experts suspect the official death and case numbers are a gross underestimate.
Swaminathan, an Indian paediatrician and clinical scientist, said the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19, which was first detected in India last October, was clearly a contributing factor to the catastrophe unfolding in her homeland.
"There have been many accelerators that are fed into this," the 62-year-old said, stressing that "a more rapidly spreading virus is one of them".
Relatives carry the body of a man who died from the coronavirus disease. AFP
The WHO recently listed B.1.617 -- which counts several sub-lineages with slightly different mutations and characteristics -- as a "variant of interest".
Many Indian states have imposed strict lockdowns over the past month to stem the surge in infections while others have announced restrictions on public movement and shut down cinemas, restaurants, pubs and shopping malls.
But pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to announce a nationwide lockdown similar to the one imposed during the first wave last year.
India's daily rise takes its overall coronavirus tally to 16.96 million infections.
India on Saturday reported its highest ever single-day COVID-19 death toll of 4,187 fatalities. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that India will see 1 million COVID-19 deaths by August.
Support has been pouring in from around the world in the form of oxygen cylinders and concentrators, ventilators and other medical equipment for overwhelmed hospitals.
A record surge of 55,079 new cases in the past 24 hours took India’s coronavirus caseload past 1.6 million, as the government decided to lift a nighttime curfew that has been in force since late March.
The steepest spike of 57,118 new cases in the past 24 hours recorded, taking its coronavirus caseload close to 1.7 million, with July alone accounting for nearly 1.1 million infections.
At least 683,767 have died, according to a Reuters tally published on Sunday, August 2nd. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
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