India has emerged as the country with the second largest number of people infected with novel coronavirus, having overtaken Brazil on Saturday when it added more than 90,000 new infections, a fresh record.
As on Saturday, India had more than 41.13 lakh confirmed infections, of which more than 8.62 lakh were active cases. The complete figure for Sunday would become available only on Monday morning. According to the latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday evening, Brazil had 40.41 lakh confirmed infections.
Only the United States, where more than 61 lakh people have so far been found to be infected, is ahead of India.
While India has been contributing the largest number of new infections every day for over three weeks now, there has also been a big jump in daily numbers in the last 11 days. During this time, India has been reporting more than 75,000 new cases every day. This number has been far less in Brazil and the United States in the last few weeks. Brazil, for example, found 51,000 new cases on Saturday, but on some days its daily numbers have even dropped below 20,000.
The United States also has been reporting between 40,000 and 50,000 cases a day, which means India is expected to rapidly close down the gap with the United States as well in the coming weeks.
Rise in numbers expected
India’s emergence as the country with the second highest caseload is no surprise. After all, it has four times the population of the United States, and five times that of Brazil, and is also much more densely populated than them. In fact, even now there are more than 88 countries which have more cases per million population than India. And, 82 countries have recorded more deaths per million population than India. With restrictions being eased, and movements normalised, the numbers are expected to rise further, in the short-term at least.
The recent surge in India’s numbers could, at least partially, be explained by a corresponding increase in the number of tests being carried out. While India’s testing capacity has been increasing steadily, there has been a sharp rise since August, more so in the last two weeks.
At the start of August, between 4 and 5 lakh samples were being tested every day across the country. Towards the end of the month, that number crossed the one million mark, and has stayed there ever since. No country has carried out more tests on a day, except the United States.
Along with the rise in cases, there has been an increase in the number of deaths being reported in the last few days. The two metrics are not directly related though, since the deaths happening right now are from the lot of people who would have got infected two to three weeks ago. But this lag effect would mean that the deaths would rise further in the coming weeks.
Right now, more than 1,000 deaths are being reported from across the country every day. The total number of people who have so far succumbed to the disease now exceeds 70,000, the third highest death toll in the world. Only the United States and Brazil have seen more deaths, though as a proportion to total population, or to the total number of confirmed infections, several other countries have had many more deaths than India. In fact, there are 82 countries have recorded higher deaths per million population.
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