May 19, 2021 - World

India reports world record in daily COVID deaths

Family members in PPE's carry the body of a person, who died due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a makeshift crematorium in New Delhi, India on May 8

Family members in PPE carry the body of a person, who died due to COVID-19 at a makeshift crematorium in New Delhi, India, on May 8. Photo: Mayank Makhija/NurPhoto via Getty Images

India's health ministry reported 4,529 deaths from COVID-19 in a single day on Wednesday and another 267,122 new cases.

Why it matters: It's the most number of deaths from the coronavirus reported by a country in a 24-hour period since the pandemic began, per the Washington Post, citing Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: India's total number of cases confirmed now exceed 25 million and the official death toll has increased past 283,000, though scientists and local health workers say the actual numbers are much higher.

  • Since the beginning of last month, infection numbers have doubled and more than 100,000 deaths have been recorded amid "shortages of hospital beds, oxygen and critical drugs," AFP notes.

What they're saying: V.K. Paul, head of the government's COVID-19 task force, said the fact the number of new cases has remained below 300,000 for three days in a row shows the "pandemic curve is stabilizing," though he noted the big picture was "mixed," the Indian Express reports.

Between the lines: Experts say the "slowing down" in infection numbers in cities like New Delhi and Mumbai can be attributed to successful local government lockdowns, per the New York Times, which notes the virus is accelerating in some rural areas.

  • "The death toll has remained over 4,000 for several days, suggesting that even if new infections are going down in urban centers, those infected earlier are dying," the Times notes.

The bottom line: Per NYT, hospitals are still experiencing shortages and the vaccination drive remains sluggish.

Go deeper