‘Could be the next Brazil’: Country’s terrifying Covid spike

A startling graph has illustrated a sharply rising surge in coronavirus cases across India, as the country breaks a horrifying global record for the most daily infections.

On Monday, India reported 168,912 new infections - the highest anywhere in the world.

The nation now accounts for one in every six daily infections worldwide.

A health worker in protective suit directs arriving passengers towards the COVID-19 testing counter outside a train station in Bengaluru, India.
India has reported a surge in infections, which according to experts is due in part to growing disregard for social distancing and mask-wearing in public spaces. Source: AP

Epidemiologist and health economist Dr Eric Feigl-Ding shared the John Hopkins graph to Twitter, showing the almost vertical spike in the number of new daily cases in India.

“My god India,” he wrote. “…and it’s not just more testing, because positivity had quintupled (5x) in recent month.

“India could be the next Brazil in terms of #COVID19 crisis scale.

The graph records the number of cases per million people, and shows a previous spike around September last year.

After a steady decline in cases over an approximate four-month period, the numbers suddenly make a steep increase as a second wave grips the country.

India passes Brazil in number of Covid cases

Monday's new cases carried the country past Brazil, for an overall tally of 13.53 million, placing it second after the United States, which has 31.2 million.

While India may have surpassed Brazil in the overall tally, the number of deaths is far fewer with 170,179 compared to Brazil's staggering count of 353,137 deaths.

A full opening of India's economy after last year's crippling lockdown, mass religious festivals and political rallies in states holding elections have worsened a second wave of infections, experts say.

In the northern city of Haridwar, nearly a million devotees thronged the banks of the Ganges, a river many Hindus consider holy, to join in the months-long Kumbh Mela festival, risking a surge in infections.

"The crowd here is surging ... the police are continuously appealing to people to maintain social distancing," police official Sanjay Gunjyal told Reuters at the site.

People queue as they wait to receive a shot of COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Mumbai, India.
A huge line of people queue outside a vaccination centre in Mumbai.Source: AP

Authorities have made virus tests mandatory for those entering the area, where officials said they were battling to hold back crowds.

A death toll of 904 overnight was the highest since October 18, taking the total figure to 170,179, data showed.

Officials in the worst-hit state of Maharashtra, home to the financial capital of Mumbai, said they were considering a broader lockdown after large closures over the weekend.

The state, India's industrial powerhouse, tallied 63,294 new infections on Sunday, led by a surge in its key cities of Mumbai, Nagpur and Pune.

India has injected more than 100 million doses since mid-January, the highest figure after the United States and China, but much lower as a share of its population than many countries.

- with Reuters

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