India COVID-19 death toll surges past 300K

A patient in India received oxygen
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Indian health authorities confirmed Monday that the country had passed 300,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming only the third country to do so.

Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University indicated that India’s death toll sat at 303,720 as of Monday morning, behind only Brazil and the United States, which have recorded more than 449,000 deaths and nearly 590,000 deaths from the virus, respectively.

Many believe the death toll in all three countries is undercounted, and such concerns have repeatedly been raised about India’s count over the past two months as it has dealt with a terrible surge of the virus. 

Experts have warned that the country is likely undercounting COVID-19 deaths and overall cases due to the stress on the health care system as well as difficulties in gathering data from isolated regions.

India’s health ministry and the country’s overall hospital system remain totally overwhelmed by the second surge of cases in India, which on Monday amounted to more than 220,000 new infections. 

Residents of India and in particular the capital region of New Delhi have reported for weeks that oxygen supplies and the availability of hospital beds is dangerously low, with many patients dying in their homes after being unable to find treatment from city health centers.

The new wave has fallen from its peak rate, which surpassed 300,000 new cases a day in late April. The number of deaths recorded every day from the virus has not fallen, however, suggesting that the availability of intensive-care treatment remains low.

The U.S. banned most travel from India in late April amid the latest surge and the administration announced last week that it would donate 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to nations struggling with the pandemic, though no information on the allocation of those doses has yet been revealed.

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