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A health worker with a patient who recovered from COVID-19 only to be infected with Black Fungus at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College in Jabalpur, India, on Friday. Photo: Uma Shankar Mishra/AFP via Getty Images

Health officials in India are scrambling to contain a potentially fatal fungal infection affecting people being treated for or who've recovered from COVID-19, as the official coronavirus death toll surpassed 300,000 on Monday.

Why it matters: Mucormycosis, the "black fungus" infection, is still quite rare, with some 9,000 cases as of Saturday, per NDTV. But Indian health services are overstretched treating COVID-19 patients, with oxygen and other supplies running out in many places amid sluggish vaccine deliveries, AP notes.

  • Mucormycosis has been declared an "epidemic" by health officials in four states, the Times of India reports.
  • The mucormycosis death toll has not been disclosed, but local media have reported that 250 people have lost their lives to the infection, according to AP.

The big picture: India's health ministry confirmed the coronavirus had killed 4,454 more people in the past 24 hours, taking the total COVID-19 death toll to 303,720 — the third-highest in the world after the U.S. (589,893 deaths) and Brazil (449,068 deaths), per Johns Hopkins.

  • The ministry reported 222,315 new COVID-19 cases, taking India's official total to almost 27 million since the pandemic began.
  • Scientists and local health workers say the actual numbers are much higher.

Go deeper

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Benefits of J&J COVID-19 vaccine outweigh risks, per CDC data — Why vaccinated America can't turn its back on unvaccinated America.
  2. Health: A reality check on the GOP's push for coronavirus antibody testing — NYC to require COVID vaccination or weekly testing for city workers — Over 50 medical groups call for mandatory vaccinations for health care workers — Savannah reimposes indoor mask mandate.
  3. Politics: Biden: Americans with long-COVID symptoms may qualify for disability resources — Prominent Republicans find new enthusiasm for COVID-19 vaccines — GOP Rep. Clay Higgins says he has COVID for second time.
  4. Sports: Golfer Bryson DeChambeau will miss Olympics after testing positive for COVID— NFL raises vaccine pressure
  5. World: Israel to require vaccine certificates to attend social events.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
May 23, 2021 - Health

Rand Paul says he won't get COVID-19 vaccine

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on May 11. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul won't get vaccinated against COVID-19 because he previously contracted the virus, the Republican lawmaker told radio host John Catsimatidis.

The big picture: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises vaccination for those who previously had the coronavirus because experts do not yet know how long the immune system will protect against reinfection.

May 23, 2021 - Health

CDC probes rare reports of myocarditis in young vaccinated people

A teenager presses a cotton ball against his arm after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Oregon Health & Science University vaccination site on May 17. Photo: Alisha Jucevic/Bloomberg via Getty Images

An advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a few reports of heart inflammation in young adults following their inoculation from two-dose mRNA vaccines.

Why it matters: Although the CDC says reports of myocarditis, or heart inflammation, have not exceeded expected rates, the condition can lead to rapid or abnormal heart rhythms and even sudden cardiac death.