More than 300,000 people died in India on Monday as a result of the coronavirus, though a crippling surge in infections seemed to be easing in major cities but was swamping the poorer countryside.
The achievement was announced by India’s Health Ministry at a time when slowed vaccine supplies have hampered the country’s battle against the pandemic, causing many people to miss their vaccines, and an unusual yet deadly fungal infection involving COVID-19 patients has doctors concerned.
The death toll in India is the third-highest recorded in the world, behind the United States and Brazil, accounting for 8.6 percent of the nearly 34.7 million coronavirus deaths worldwide, though the real figure is believed to be even higher.
The Health Ministry announced 4,454 new deaths in the previous 24 hours on Monday, taking India’s total fatalities to 303,720. It also recorded 222,315 new infections, bringing the total number of infections to nearly 27 million since the pandemic started. Both are almost definitely inaccurate.
The pandemic has swamped India’s underfunded health care infrastructure after rapidly spreading through the region, from isolated Himalayan villages in the north to the vast tropical central plains and sandy beaches in the south.
Residents of the capital, New Delhi, also died at home without oxygen after hospitals ran out of supplies. COVID-19 people have died in crowded hospital halls in Mumbai. Fever and shortness of breath killed people in rural villages before they could be screened for coronavirus.
Though the megacities have shown signs of progress in recent days, the epidemic is far from over in India. It seems to have already taken a heinous toll in the country’s large rural areas, where the bulk of the population lives and health care is scarce.
Hundreds of bodies have washed up on the shores of the Ganges River in Uttar Pradesh in recent weeks. Even others have been discovered hidden in small graves along the river’s sandy shores. Concerns have been raised that they are the bones of COVID-19 victims.
India’s vaccination push has also recently stalled, with several states claiming they don’t have enough vaccinations to go around.
Just 41.6 million people, or 3.8 percent of the world’s nearly 1.4 billion people, have been completely vaccinated in the world’s largest vaccine-producing nation. To “minimise vaccine waste,” the federal government allowed walk-in registration at government-run vaccination centres for those aged 18 to 44 on Monday.
The first recorded COVID-19 death in India occurred on March 12, 2020, in the southern state of Karnataka. It took seven months to meet the first 100,000 people who had died. In late April, the official death toll surpassed 200,000. After new illnesses ripped through dense cities and rural areas alike, and devastated health-care services on the verge of failure, the next 100,000 deaths were reported in just 27 days.
Average regular deaths and cases have declined marginally in recent weeks, and the government announced on Sunday that it is running the most COVID-19 testing in history, with more than 2.1 million samples checked in the previous 24 hours.