A patient wearing an oxygen mask is being rushed to a COVID-19 hospital for treatment amid the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ahmedabad, India, April 26, 2021.
Amit Dave | Reuters
India’s daily reported death toll from the coronavirus crisis reached a record high on Thursday, with more than 6,000 people succumbing to the disease.
It surpassed a record number of daily deaths reported by the United States this year.
The death toll rose after one of India’s poorest states, Bihar, revised its total Covid-19-related death toll on Wednesday from about 5,400 to more than 9,400, accounting for people who died at home or in private hospitals, Reuters reported .
India is battling a devastating second eruption wave that started in February and accelerated in April and early May, overwhelming the country’s health infrastructure. The sector struggled with shortages of beds, oxygen and medicine, while many doctors and other health workers bid farewell during the illness.
While cases peaked in early May, government officials have sounded the alarm over a potential third wave that could hit the country later in the year.
Experts say accelerating the vaccination program is the way forward for India, both to bring the economy out of the Covid crisis and to mitigate the effects of a third wave. But the rollout, which started in January, faced problems, including a shortage of vaccine, which resulted in less than 5% of the population receiving both doses so far.
The government estimates that more than 2 billion doses of vaccine could be available in December, as more vaccine candidates are expected to get authority approved. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this week that India will provide free Covid-19 vaccines to all adults.
India has reported more than 29 million cases and over 353,000 deaths since the pandemic began last year.