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India passes grim milestone of 200,000 COVID-19 deaths

India passes grim milestone of 200,000 COVID-19 deaths
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India became the fourth country in the world to pass 200,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday as the country continues to struggle against a deadly second wave of infections that has overwhelmed most of the country's hospitals.

Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University indicated that Indian health officials had recorded just over 201,000 deaths from the virus as of Wednesday morning, U.S. Eastern time. India has now also recorded nearly 18 million total cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, second only to the U.S.

The country joins a grim club of nations who have experienced the worst of the pandemic; only India, the U.S., Mexico and Brazil have recorded more than 200,000 deaths since the beginning of 2020.

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U.S. COVID-19 deaths sat at just above 573,000 as of Wednesday, far outpacing any other country including Brazil, which has recorded the second-most deaths at 395,000.

Indian hospitals face dwindling supplies, not enough vaccines and insufficient space for new patients as the country's death toll and case count continue to climb; supplies including oxygen are in particularly short supply, and have left many with severe COVID-19 symptoms unable to find a hospital where they can receive treatment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said last week that the country was in its most serious battle against the virus so far.

“The country is today fighting a very big battle against COVID-19. The situation had improved for a while, but the second COVID-19 wave has come like a storm,” Modi said last week during a national address.

“I express my condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones due to COVID-19," he added. "Just like a member of your family, I am with you in this hour of sadness. The battle is long and difficult, but we have to overcome it together with our dedication and courage.”

New Delhi, the country's capital, remains under lockdown as officials cite a test positivity rate as high as 36 percent throughout the country.