India’s coronavirus death toll exceeds 400,000
MUMBAI, July 2 (Reuters) – India hit a grim milestone of 400,000 coronavirus deaths on Friday, half of which in a second wave in recent months that has overwhelmed the healthcare system and crematoriums.
India has recorded 30.45 million cases since the start of the pandemic last year and is the second most affected country behind the United States, which has 33 million cases.
The United States has more than 604,000 deaths and an estimated 518,000 people have died in Brazil.
India, the second most populous country in the world, has recorded 853 deaths in the past 24 hours, data from the Ministry of Health showed on Friday. That passed the 400,000 mark, with the last 100,000 added in just 39 days, according to a Reuters tally.
But health experts believe India may have significantly underestimated the deaths, and the real number could have been as high as a million or even more.
Dozens of bodies washed up along the Ganges in northern India in May, as people struggled to keep pace with deaths and cremations at the height of Wave 2. Read more
“The underestimation of deaths is something that has happened in every state, mainly because of delays in the system, which means we will never have a real idea of how many people we have lost in this second wave, “said Rijo M John, professor at the Rajagiri College of Social Sciences in the southern city of Kochi.
Last month, Bihar, one of India’s poorest states, revised its total death toll from COVID-19 to 9,429 from 5,424, after a local court order.
India recorded a total of 200,000 deaths at the end of April, but took just 28 days to reach 300,000 deaths.
Hospitals ran out of beds and life-saving oxygen during the second wave in April and May, and people died in parking lots outside hospitals and in their homes.
Cases have declined steadily since peaking in May, but government officials and experts have warned that a third wave is looming, as the country slowly reopens and a new variant, locally called Delta Plus , made his appearance.
Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar
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