India’s tally surges past 20 million, boosted by 357,229 new cases over last 24 hours, while deaths rise by 3,449 for a total of 222,408.
India on Tuesday confirmed more than 20 million coronavirus infections in the official total, though the figure is believed to be a vast undercount.
A vicious surge in COVID-19 cases has left the country’s healthcare system at breaking point, with hospitals running out of oxygen and nearly all hospital beds occupied.
The country has witnessed scenes of people dying outside overwhelmed hospitals and funeral pyres lighting up the night sky.
Here are the latest updates:
‘Horrible’ weeks ahead, warns prominent expert
Dr Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health in the United States, said he is concerned that Indian policymakers he has been in contact with believe things will improve in the next few days.
“I’ve been … trying to say to them, ‘If everything goes very well, things will be horrible for the next several weeks. And it may be much longer,’” he said.
Jha said the focus needs to be on “classic” public health measures: targeted shutdowns, more testing, universal mask-wearing and avoiding large gatherings. “That is what’s going to break the back of this surge,” he said.
India’s tally of COVID-19 infections crosses 20 million
India’s tally of coronavirus infections surged past 20 million, boosted by 357,229 new cases over the last 24 hours, while deaths rose by 3,449 for a total of 222,408 fatalities, health ministry data showed.
India becomes the world’s second nation, after the United States, to pass the grim milestone. It took the South Asian country just over four months to add 10 million cases, versus more than 10 months for its first 10 million.
India virus crisis a ‘disaster like an earthquake’
Doctors in New Dehli hospitals say their infrastructure is close to collapse amid India’s coronavirus surge and begged for help from the West and the international community.
Beds are full and supplies of oxygen have run dangerously low in facilities, leading to increased fatalities. In some cases the only way for a new patient to get an ICU bed is if the previous occupant dies.
The crisis seems to show no signs of abating, meaning medical staff are also close to exhaustion.
A doctor compared the situation with a “major disaster” and said a response comparable to that given after an earthquake was necessary.