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Frontline workers are sprayed with disinfectant at a COVID-19 Care Center set up at the Sarojini Naidu Medical College in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, on Monday. Photo: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

India on Tuesday became the second country after the U.S. to report surpassing 20 million COVID-19 cases. The official death toll has surged past 220,000.

Of note: The country's official daily cases count has risen from 65,000 to roughly 370,000 and deaths from more than 300 a day to 3,000 since April 1, AP notes. Experts and local health workers say the actual numbers are much higher.

The big picture: The World Health Organization said Monday more cases had been recorded globally over the past two weeks than in the first six months of the pandemic, with India and Brazil making up more than half of all infections.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been criticized for his handling of the pandemic, as hospitals face a widespread oxygen shortage.
  • Still, his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has been resisting calls for new national restrictions, as several state governments impose lockdowns.

Go deeper: Foreign aid pours into India as COVID-19 crisis worsens

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

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
May 3, 2021 - World

Pandemic's global toll rises even as rich world starts to move on

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

We seem to have arrived at a fork in the pandemic: Pockets of the rich world are beginning to move past COVID-19, while some less-fortunate countries are facing greater danger than ever.

Consider this: The World Health Organization said today that more cases had been recorded globally over the last two weeks than in the first six months of the pandemic, driven largely by an unprecedented surge in India and the ongoing onslaught in Brazil.

May 3, 2021 - World

WHO: More COVID-19 cases reported in last 2 weeks than in first 6 months of pandemic

Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The number of global coronavirus cases reported in the last two weeks eclipses the first six months of the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday.

Why it matters: It underscores the severity of the current wave of infections in India, which surpassed 400,000 cases for the first time over the weekend, as well as a record-high number of deaths, per data from Johns Hopkins University.

May 3, 2021 - World

Narendra Modi's party loses key election as India's COVID cases surge

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures while addressing his supporters during an election campaign rally ahead of the national elections in Chanditala Hooghly District, West Bengal, India on Thursday. Photo: Debajyoti Chakraborty/NurPhoto via Getty Images

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost an election in the key state of West Bengal on Sunday.

Why it matters: Modi has been criticized for his handling of the pandemic amid a widespread oxygen shortage, record daily cases and a surging death toll, with accusations that the real numbers are much higher.