Family members sit on benches next to a pyre from a Covid-19 victim at the Nigambodh Ghat Crematorium in New Delhi, India in the early hours of April 22nd. Sajjad Hussain / AFP / Getty Images
India reported 314,835 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, the world’s highest daily increase in cases since the pandemic began.
The country also recorded the highest number of new Covid-19 deaths with 2,104 deaths.
The blatant numbers come from the fact that healthcare and other vital services across India are on the verge of collapse amid a second wave of coronavirus sweeping the country at a devastating speed.
The Union Territory of Delhi received less than half of the oxygen needed to treat Covid-19 patients on Wednesday with 200 to 250 tons of oxygen against a demand of 700 tons, the Delhi government lawyer told the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
According to a petition from the Bajaj Medical and Research Center, which operates a chain of private hospitals, five of its hospitals in Delhi had between two and 18 hours of oxygen supply.
By the time the court heard the petition, two of the five private hospitals named in the petition had received oxygen, the court found.
According to the government, Delhi had 26 vacant beds in the intensive care unit as of Thursday afternoon.
Several Indian states have imposed restrictions to contain the spread of the virus, even when Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged states to use the lockdown as a last resort.
India’s second largest state, Maharashtra, announced new restrictions on Wednesday. People are only allowed to travel for essential services or for “unavoidable events” such as funerals. All private passenger traffic may be used to 50%.
The new rules will come into effect on Thursday at 8 p.m. local time and will remain in effect until May 1 at 7 a.m.
According to the Indian Ministry of Health, India had registered a total of 15,930,965 cases on Thursday. The total death toll now stands at 184,657.
A context: India’s population is nearly four times that of the United States, and its daily cases still lag behind the US when adjusted for population size (in cases per million people). But India’s outbreak is currently undoubtedly the world’s largest in absolute terms – nearly 28% of all new cases worldwide in the past week came from India, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.