India’s total number of coronavirus cases crossed 4 million on Saturday. The country is leading the world in new infections and closing in on Brazil’s total, which is the second-highest in the world.
The 86,432 cases added in the past 24 hours pushed India’s total to 4,023,179. Brazil has confirmed 4,091,801 infections, while the U.S. has 6,202,329 people infected, according to Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.
India’s Health Ministry on Saturday also reported 1,089 deaths for a total of 69,561.
Initially, the virus ravaged India’s sprawling and often densely populated cities. It has since stretched to almost every state in the country, spreading through villages and smaller cities where access to health care is crippled.
Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, which has a limited health-care system, has recorded 253,175 cases and 3,762 deaths.
In rural Maharashtra, the worst-affected state, with 863,062 cases and 25,964 deaths, doctors said preventative measures such as wearing masks had now largely been abandoned.
“There is behavioural fatigue now setting in,” said Dr. S.P. Kalantri, the director of a hospital in the village of Sevagram.
He said the past few weeks had driven home the point that the virus had moved from India’s cities to its villages.
“The worst is yet to come,” said Kalantri. “There is no light at the end of the tunnel.”
The new tally comes a day after the World Health Organization said it’s not expecting widespread vaccinations against COVID-19 until the middle of next year.
There are at least 176 potential vaccines at various stages of research around the world, but just eight of them are in the final stage of human clinical trials, or Phase 3. Dr. Margaret Harris of the WHO said this part of the process can’t be rushed.
Photo credit: T. NARAYAN/BLOOMBERG
News source: The Associated Press