India’s confirmed coronavirus infections passed 5 million on Wednesday, still soaring and testing the feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages.
The world’s second-most populous country has added more than 1 million cases this month alone and is expected to become the pandemic’s worst-hit country within weeks, surpassing the United States, where more than 6.6 million people have been infected.
India’s Health Ministry reported 90,123 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising the total to 5,020,359, about 0.35% of the nation’s nearly 1.4 billion people. Its record daily high of 97,570 cases was reported on Sept. 11.
The ministry said 1,290 more people died in the past 24 hours, for a total of 82,066, which is the third-highest toll in the world. Experts warned that India’s fatality rate could increase in coming weeks with lockdown restrictions relaxed except in high-risk areas.
But authorities ruled out imposing a second countrywide lockdown as recoveries were growing at more than 78%. Its fatality rate is 1.6%, far lower than 3% in the United States and Brazil, according to tallies by Johns Hopkins University.