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A man performs the last rites of a family member who died of COVID-19 as other funeral pyres burn during a mass cremation at a crematorium in New Delhi, India., Saturday. Photo: Anindito Mukherjee/Getty Images

India's COVID-19 death toll surged past 200,000 on Wednesday, as the country set another daily global cases record.

Of note: Medical experts and members of India's opposition parties say the actual death toll and case numbers are much higher, a charge Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party denies.

By the numbers: India's health ministry reported a record 360,960 new coronavirus cases, taking the total to nearly 18 million since the pandemic began.

  • It recorded another 3,293 deaths, taking the official toll to 201,187.

Driving the news: A New York Times investigation published Tuesday found "mounting evidence" suggesting fatalities are being "overlooked or downplayed."

  • Local medical workers said officials were worried about creating a "panic," the NYT reports.
  • University of Michigan epidemiologist Bhramar Mukherjee, who's been following the pandemic in India closely, told the Times, "From all the modeling we've done, we believe the true number of deaths is two to five times what is being reported."

What they're saying: Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in New Delhi, told CNN Tuesday, "It's widely known that both the case numbers and the mortality figures are undercounts, they always have been.

"Last year we estimated that only one in about 30 infections were being caught by testing, so the reported cases are a serious underestimate of true infections. This time, the mortality figures are probably serious underestimates, and what we're seeing on the ground is many more deaths, than what has been officially reported."
— Laxminarayan

The big picture: Hospitals across the country are overwhelmed with coronavirus patients amid a widespread oxygen shortage and sluggish vaccine rollout.

  • Indian Medical Association Vice President Navjot Dahiya on Monday called Modi a "super-spreader" for holding "big political rallies" for the state elections earlier this month, per the Tribune India.
  • "The scarcity of medical oxygen has become the reason for the death of many patients in every part of the country against the fact that several projects for installing the oxygen are still pending," he said.

What to watch: Aid has begun arriving in India from abroad, Channel News Asia notes. The U.S. is among the countries sending vital supplies.

  • President Biden told reporters at the White House Tuesday, "I think we'll be in a position to be able to ... share vaccines as well as know-how with other countries who are in real need."

Go deeper: U.S. to send India supplies as country faces record COVID surge

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Updated Jul 30, 2021 - Health

DeSantis issues order barring Florida schools from mandating masks

Photo: Michael Reaves via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday issued an executive order that bars local school districts from requiring students to wear masks when they return to the classroom next month.

Why it matters: The spread of the Delta variant has led to a spike in new infections across the United States, triggering another round of debate about COVID guidelines in schools.

In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 9 highlights

Team USA's Ryan Murphy, Zach Apple, Michael Andrew and Caeleb Dressel celebrate winning gold in the final of the men's 4x100m medley relay swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on Aug. 1. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

Day nine of the Tokyo Olympic Games Sunday saw the final day of swimming competition end with a historic win for Team USA.

The big picture: The U.S. men's 4x100-meter medley relay team set a new record world as they won the final and Caeleb Dressel earned a fifth gold — becoming the fifth American to do so. Team USA's Bobby Finke won the 1,500-meter freestyle.

Trump PACs raise over $82M for first half of 2021

Former President Trump during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, on July 11. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Former President Trump's political action committees (PACs) raised more than $82 million in the first half of 2021, per Federal Election Commission filings published on Saturday.

Why it matters: It's a significant amount for a former president who's been banned from major social media platforms. It demonstrates his ability to raise huge sums of money should he choose to run for the presidency for a third time.