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India’s COVID-19 death toll surpasses 300,000

By New Desk

India’s COVID-19 death toll has surpassed 300,000, making it the third country after United States and Brazil to cross the grim milestone as it grapples with a second wave of the pandemic.

According to the country’s Health Ministry, India recorded 4,454 deaths related to coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total tally to 303,720.

During the period under review, 222,315 new infections were reported, taking the South Asian country’s total caseload to 26.75 million.

India’s toll is third behind the U.S. and Brazil’s with 589,893 and 449,068, respectively, while it ranks second in terms of cases behind the U.S.’s 33.1 million infections.

However, experts maintained that India’s official estimates could be a vast undercount, as testing rates are low and many people may be dying at home, particularly in rural areas.

With its deadly second wave that began mid-February, India took less than a month to record its last 100,000 deaths, with patients flooding hospitals and leading to long queues outside crematoriums and burial grounds.

Meanwhile, recent cases of “black fungus,’’ or mucormycosis, in CoVID-19 patients have added to the woes. However, virologists attribute the unprecedented spike in cases to more infectious variants, including B1617, a mutation detected in India, and people’s failure to observe safety measures.

Epidemiologists have warned that a third wave is unavoidable unless the vaccination drive is accelerated. However, many states have complained of flagging campaigns due to dwindling vaccine supplies.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 167 million people and killed 3.4 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

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