India reports the world’s largest increase in daily cases

Family members are sitting on benches by a Covid-19 victim at the Nigambodh Ghat Crematorium in New Delhi, India, in the early hours of Thursday, April 22nd.
Family members are sitting on benches next to a Covid-19 victim’s pyramid at Nigambodh Ghat Crematorium in New Delhi, India in the early hours of Thursday, April 22nd. Sajjad Hussain / AFP / Getty Images

India reported 314,835 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, the largest daily increase in cases worldwide since the pandemic began.

The country also recorded the highest number of new Covid-19 deaths, at 2,104 deaths.

Huge figures come as healthcare and other essential services in India are about to collapse amid a second wave of coronavirus that is sweeping the country with devastating speed.

The Union’s territory in Delhi received less than half of the oxygen needed to treat patients with Covid-19 on Wednesday, with 200-250 metric tons of oxygen against a requirement of 700 metric tons, the Delhi government’s lawyer said on Wednesday.

A petition from the Bajaj Medical and Research Center, which runs a chain of private hospitals, said five of its hospitals in Delhi had between two and 18 hours of oxygen supply left.

While the court was hearing the petition, two of the five private hospitals mentioned in the petition had received oxygen supplies, the court noted.

As of Thursday afternoon, Delhi had 26 vacant ICU beds, according to government data.

Several Indian states have imposed restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called on states to use the blockade as a last resort.

India’s second most populous state, Maharashtra, announced new restrictions on Wednesday. People will only be allowed to travel for essential services or for “unavoidable events” such as funerals. All private passenger transport will be allowed to operate at a capacity of 50%.

The new rules will take effect locally at 20:00 on Thursday and will remain in force until 07:00 on May 1.

India has now registered a total of 15,930,965 cases since Thursday, according to the Indian Ministry of Health. The total death toll is now 184,657.

Some contexts: India’s population is almost four times larger than that of the United States, and its daily cases still lag behind the United States when adjusted for population size (in one million cases). But India’s outbreak is arguably the world’s largest in absolute terms right now – nearly 28 percent of all new cases worldwide in the past week came from India, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.