India Accounts For 1 In 3 New Covid Cases Being Recorded. Here Is Its Second Wave In 5 Charts

  • Posted on May 03, 2021
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India’s second wave of Covid-19 infections shows no signs of slowing down as the country’s overwhelmed health-care system faces supply shortages for hospital beds, oxygen, medicines and vaccines.The World Health Organization said last week that one in every three new coronavirus cases globally is being reported in India.Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is facing criticism for allowing large crowds to gather for religious festivals and election rallies in various parts of the country. Commentators said the mass gatherings likely turned into super spreader events.Cases in the second wave started rising in February, when India reported an average of about 10,000 infections a day. But the situation progressively worsened in April, ending the month by repeatedly setting new global records for daily cases. India kicked off May by reporting more than 400,000 new cases.Nearly 7 million cases were reported for the month, a huge share of the more than 19 million India has recorded during the entire pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.Scientists say the spike in cases is partially due to variants of the coronavirus circulating in India at the moment.“There is at least emergence of two important dominant variants, one is a U.K. variant, one is an Indian variant,” Manoj Murhekar, director of the National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai, told CNBC on Friday.The Indian government reportedly said last month that 80% of cases in Punjab were due to the highly contagious U.K. variant, which is known as B.1.1.7.Meanwhile, the Indian variant is known as B.1.617 and has multiple sub-lineages with slightly different characteristic mutations. The WHO classified it as a variant of interest in its epidemiological update on the pandemic last week.Maharashtra, which is home to India’s financial capital Mumbai, is the hardest hit state and also the epicenter for the second wave.India’s richest state went into a lockdown in mid-April to break the chain of transmission. Reports said Maharashtra’s state government extended restrictions until May 15.Murhekar told CNBC that at the moment, very little is known about what proportion of the infected cases are due to a variant. He said India needs to step up its surveillance for variants so that there’s meaningful data from each region and state on which variants are circulating in each.By cnbc.com

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