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Coronavirus surging in India with 400,000 daily cases, 4,000 deaths

By
Allen Cone
People wait to receive COVID-19 vaccine doses at one of the largest vaccination sites at Radhaswami Satsang, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Photo by Abhishek/UPI
People wait to receive COVID-19 vaccine doses at one of the largest vaccination sites at Radhaswami Satsang, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Photo by Abhishek/UPI | License Photo

May 9 (UPI) -- Coronavirus is continuing to surge in India as daily cases surpassed 400,000 for the fourth day in a row Sunday and deaths were above 4,000 for back-to-back days in the nation as the pandemic is subsiding elsewhere in the aftermath of restrictions and ramped-up vaccines.

On Sunday, the Asian nation reported 4,092 fatalities, behind the record 4,187 Saturday, and 403,738 cases compared with a world record 414,188 Friday. Only two other nations have reported more than 4,000 in one day -- the United States with 4,474 and Brazil with 4,211 earlier this year. The United States previously had the infections record with 299,786.

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India represented 62.7% of the total reported cases Sunday and 40.1% of the deaths.

Last week, India passed Mexico for the third-most deaths, 242,362, behind the United States with 581,752, Brazil with 422,812 and ahead of Mexico's 218,985. The world death was 3,306,532 Sunday, according to {link:Worldometers.info: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ target="_blank"}.

India is second in cases with 22,296,414 behind the United States with 32,707,359. Brazil is third with 15,184,790.

In one week India gained 3.7 million cases for a rise of 14% as deaths spiked 26,820 to 242,362 at 12.4% world. Worldwide, cases fell 5% and deaths dropped 4%.

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Despite the record numbers, India's per capita figures are lower than the world -- 174 deaths per million and 16,023 cases. The world average is 423.2 deaths and 20.324 cases with the United States at 1,790 fatalities and 100,570 infections. Brazil has 1,971 deaths per million and 70,849 cases per million.

While India has been dominating cases and deaths, the world's second largest nation of 1.4 billion has been lagging in vaccines though it is a dominant manufactures of the doses worldwide. Only 9.8 percent of the residents have received at least one dose. Worldwide, 1.29 billion shots have been given in the population of 7.9 billion with a two-dose regimen required for most brands.

Among the world leaders in fatalities, the United States has administered at least one dose to 45.6% of its population with Brazil at 16.6%, according to tracking by Bloomberg. Britain, which inoculated the first person in the world in December, is among the best in the world with 52.7%.

India is administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, also known as Covishield, and Johnson, both based in the United States, as well as AstraZeneca in Britain.

The top vaccine makers are U.S.-based Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

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Despite a shortage of doses, anyone aged 18 or over in India is eligible for a vaccine since May 1.

"Even if the projected supply was available, India has opened the vaccination to a far bigger population than probably any setting can expect the vaccines [to cover]," Dr. Chandrakant Lahariya, a doctor based in New Delhi who is also a vaccines, public policy and health systems expert, {link:told CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/05/why-covid-vaccine-producer-india-faces-major-shortage-of-doses.html target="_blank"}. It is essentially an outcome of limited supply and a vaccination policy which is not mindful of supplies. No amount of advanced planning could have assured that sort of supply, which is needed now with the opening of vaccination for 940 million people in India."

On Monday, the government refuted media reports alleging that it had not placed any fresh orders for Covid vaccines since March.

Until a few weeks ago, cases hadn't passed 100,000 and deaths were under 2,000 in India.

"Maybe the worst of the disaster that is now unfolding in India could have been avoided if restrictions on public and private gatherings had been left in place," Dr. Manali Kumar from the Institute of Political Science at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland told CNBC. "Decades of neglecting investments in healthcare infrastructure and an electorate that has not prioritized public services are also to blame."

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has defended the government's vaccination strategy.

"Those who are in the habit of doing politics, let them do so ... I have been facing various allegations," he {link:told ministers last month: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pm-modi-defends-vaccine-strategy-says-in-line-with-global-norms/articleshow/81978693.cms target="_blank"}. "We can't stop those who are hell bent on doing politics. But we are committed to service to mankind, which we shall continue.

Nations have vowed to assist India in providing raw materials for vaccines and medical supplies, including oxygen.

Those on oxygen in India have declined to 3.7% of total active cases from {link:last week: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/covid-share-of-those-on-oxygen-support-comes-down/articleshow/82489266.cms target="_blank"} 4.5% in the previous week. Patients in intensive care units have to declined to 1.34%, compared with 2.31% a month ago. And the ventilation percentage is down to 0.39% from 0.46%

U.S. President Joe Biden has lifted the restriction on materials though a travel ban was put in place.

India represents 43.2% of the 565,286 deaths in Asia, with the continent ranking fourth, with cases at 43,560, which also is third among the continents. But Asia's nearly 38,000 deaths in the past week ranked first.

COVID-19 originated in Mainland China, but the nation has reported only a few deaths in the past 12 months and stands in 59th at 4,636 dropping behind Azerbaijan with 4,680. China added 12 cases Sunday.

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Iran has the second-most deaths in Asia and 12th worldwide with 396 reported Sunday.

Turkey ranks fifth in the world for cases at 5,031,332 with 15,191 Sunday and 19th in deaths at 43,029 including 283 most recently.

In the Far East, Indonesia has the most deaths, 47,012 in 17th place with 170.

Japan is 40th with 10,919 deaths, including 60 on Sunday with the record 148 Friday. Cases are 6,847 with the record 7,882. Its 7,246 cases Friday were the most since January.

Less than three months before the Summer Olympics, the nation has announced emergency measures in Tokyo. On Friday, the government expand the ongoing state of emergency beyond Tokyo and the greater Osaka region to 15 of the 47 prefectures.

"Everyone is wearing face masks and yet more contagious coronavirus variants are on the rise," a 76-year-old man in the southwestern city of Fukuoka {link:told Koyodo News: https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/05/92a4b85e4da6-people-fed-up-over-latest-extension-of-covid-emergency-in-japan.html target="_blank"}. "The state of emergency cannot be helped."

Japan has vaccinated only 2.4% of the population with at least one dose.

South Korea tighter restrictions last {link:through May 23: https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/05/92a4b85e4da6-people-fed-up-over-latest-extension-of-covid-emergency-in-japan.htm target="_blank"} in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province.

The nation has 1,874 deaths, including nine more Sunday, and 127,309 cases, with a rise of 564. The record is 40 deaths and 1,241 cases.

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South Korea has vaccinated 7.1% of its population with at least one dose.

Conversely, Israel, which is considered part of Asia, has fully vaccinated 59.9% of its population, among the best in the world. Its death toll is 6,376, rising by 10 in one week, including none Sunday.

The pandemic is also surging in South America, which has four nations in the top 10. Besides Brazil, Colombia is in 11th with 77,854, Argentina in 14th with 67,325 and Peru in 15th with 64,103.

In all, the continent's death toll is 704,532 and 25,923,135 cases. In the past week, the continent rose by 25,460, which is 28.3% of the world total though the population is only 5.5%. Cases dropped 3%.

Chile, which ranks 23rd in the world with 27,218, including 117 Sunday, leads South America in vaccination percentage with 44.3% of its 19.3 million population receiving at least one shot.

Besides Brazil, the vaccine percentages are 7.7% in Colombia, 4.1% in Peru and 17.0% in Argentina.

Deaths have been surging in Colombia and Argentina.

Colombia reported 495 Sunday, which was the third highest in the world behind India and Brazil, with the record 505 April 29. Argentina gained 283 after a record 663 Wednesday.

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Coronavirus is high in Brazil though deaths and cases are trending down. Brazil posted a record 4,211 on April 6 with Sunday's increase 934 after Saturday's 2,091 and a 12% drop in one week. Cases were 34,162 Sunday compared with a record 97,586 in March and a one-week gain of 2%.

Since the start of the year, one-third of all deaths in the nation have been attributed to coronavirus, according to Brazil's National Civil Registry in a CNN report.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro doesn't want to institute national lockdown measures through state governors and city mayors have put them in place. And scientists warn of a summer surge.

Six European nations are in the top 10 for most deaths: Britain fifth with 127,605, Italy sixth with 122,833, Russia seventh with 113,326, France eighth with 106,392, Germany ninth with 85,371 and Spain 10th with 78,792. Two other European nations have been surging. Poland is 13th at 70,012 with 147 Sunday and a record 954 on April 8. Ukraine is 18th at 46,393, including 193 Sunday after record 4381 also April 8.

Overall, Europe's deaths are down 21% and cases 18% in one week. The totals are 1,035,080 fatalities and 45,495,736 infections - No. 1 among the continents.

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Britain, compared with other nations, has a fraction of the past deaths in the past week, 79, though a more contagious strain was first found there. France was at 1,568, Italy at 1,661, Germany at 1,550 and Spain at 602. The biggest death gainers in Europe were Russia with 2,472, Poland with 1,941, Ukraine with 1,764.

Behind Britain in vaccinations are 32.3% in Germany, 28.5% in Spain, 27.2% in France, 27.1% in Italy, 26.3% in Poland, 8.2% in Russia, 2.1% in Ukraine.

Britain's statistics are drastically down from a peak of 1,823 deaths on Jan. 20 and 68,053 cases on Jan. 8. On Sunday, the kingdom reported 2 deaths and 1,770 cases.

Britain has a travel ban to many nations. On Friday, England enacted it first "green list," allowing people to go abroad starting May 17 and return home without the need to quarantine, including Israel and Portugal.

Like Britain, France also is easing out of lockdown since April 3. Last Monday, residents were to allowed to travel cross country. Bars and restaurants as well as cultural sites and non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen to customers on May 19. On June 30, all curfews will be lifted though nightclubs will remain closed.

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France reported 115 deaths Sunday after a fall peak of 932 and a record 1,437 on April 15 one year ago. COVID-19 cases however remain relatively high in France with 20,745 Saturday then 9,128 Saturday compared with a record 88,790 on Nov. 7.

Italy plans to lift quarantine restrictions for those arriving from European countries, Britain and Israel as early as mid-May, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio announced after Tuesday's Group of 20. The nation plans to introduce a pass for those are vaccinated

Italy now allows outdoor dining for lunch and reopening schools.

Italy reported 139 deaths Sunday compared with the record 993 on Dec. 3. Cases were 8,292, down from a record 40,896.

Germany has been in a lockdown since November but parliament passed a law Thursday that allows residents who have full vaccinated to be exempt from most rules.

The nation reported 119 deaths Sunday from a high of 1,244. And cases were 8,290, down from a record 31,553.

Russia reported 334 deaths and 8,419 cases from highs of 635 and 31,553.

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said its vaccines, including Sputnik 5, "as one European expert said, they're reliable as a Kalashnikov assault rifle," which I known as an AK-47 and was developed in the Soviet Union after World War II.

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Spain didn't report data on the weekend after 66 deaths Friday compared with a winter peak of 766 on Feb. 6 and a record 996 on April 2. Cases increased by 8,186, behind the mark of 35,118 in January.

All regions in Spain, except Madrid, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, ended perimeter lockdown and curfews through Saturday night from six months ago. Across Spain, young people danced in the streets as the clock struck midnight Saturday night. Residents are allowed to travel between regions with restaurants and bars allowed to stay open until 11 p.m.

In North America, the nonessential travel ban among Mexico, Canada and the United States has been extended through May 21. It began one year ago in March.

North America is second behind Europe for deaths with 871,549, and cases with 38,851,581. In one week, fatalities are down 4% and cases 4%.

Vaccination rates are much different in the two U.S. neighbors: Mexico at 10.8%, though it was the first Latin American nation to begin vaccinating people, and Canada at 34.1%, which is 11.5 percentage points less than the United States.

And deaths and cases differ greatly though Mexico reported only 57 Sunday after 271 deaths Saturday with the single-day record 1,803. Cases were 1,175 for a total of 2,365,792, which ranks 15th.

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Canada, which has 29% of Mexico's population, has reported under triple digits for deaths since 142 on Feb. 3 and a record 257 on Dec. 29, including 58 Sunday for a total of 24,626. Cases were 6,695, behind the record 11,383.

A new study estimated Mexico's death toll is 617,127 people, which is 183% higher than its official toll, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Many people have died at home without being tested. The testing rate is 51,769 per million compared with the United State 1.4 million and Canada at 856,046.

Despite relatively low deaths and cases in Canada, experts are warning of a fourth wave if restrictions are lifted too soon.

"This is not to fear-monger," he said. "This is very much factual, and we have evidence from previous waves." physician-epidemiologist Dr. Nitin Mohan, a public health consultant and assistant professor at Western University in London, Ontario, said in a report by the CDC.

Oceania, with only 42.3 million people, has 1,209 deaths and 63,718 cases.

New Zealand's deaths remain at 26 with the last one reported on Feb. 16 and Australia's toll stayed at 910 with one reported April 13.

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New Zealand reported two cases Sunday, tallying 24 in one week, for a total of 2,618, and Australia was up 10, which is 90 in a week, for 29,916 total.

Australia has vaccines available for 5.1% of the population with dosage administration not available. New Zealand has administered first doses to 4.4% of its population.

Australia's international borders will remain closed indefinitely, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says. "International borders will only open when it is safe to do so," he posted on Facebook. "We still have a long way to go, and there are still many uncertainties ahead. Australians are living like in few countries around the world today. We will continue to do everything we can to work together prevent a third wave and roll out our vaccination programme. And, as always, we will continue to listen to the medical advice and make decisions in the best health and economic interests of all Australians." Africa has reported 124,715 deaths and 4,673,440 cases.

South Africa has 54,724 deaths, including 11 on Sunday and 1,778 cases despite a more contagious strain originating there. Infections reached a high of 21,980 on Jan. 8 and deaths at 839 on Jan. 19. Egypt is second with 13,904 and Tunisia third with 11,429.

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South Africa, which is dealing with a variant, has vaccinated 0.6% of its population with its first dose. Among continents, Africa has the slowest rate of vaccinations at 1.5%, according to tracking by The New York Times. North America leads with 51%, followed by Europe at 34%, South America at 19%, Asia at 13% and Oceania at 6.8%.

"My big concern is that if vaccine nationalism continues, and if people [in Africa] are not vaccinated early enough, the virus will keep mutating and as the virus keeps mutating, we may end up having a virus that is completely resistant to all of the vaccines out there," said Christian Happi, director of the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases in southern Nigeria told The Washington Post. "Eventually, the world could be back to square one."

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