virus death

A health worker collects swab samples for coronavirus testing at the Patliputra Ashok Hotel isolation center in Patna, on Aug. 1, 2020. (IANS photo)

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s coronavirus death toll overtook Britain to become the fourth-highest in the world with another single-day record increase in cases Aug. 14.

According to the Health Ministry, India reported 1,007 deaths in the past 24 hours. Its total rose to 48,040 deaths, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico.

India’s confirmed cases reached 2,461,190 with a single-day spike of 64,553 cases reported in the past 24 hours, the ministry said. India is behind the United States and Brazil in total positive cases. More than 70% of people infected in India have recovered.

The daily increase in newly reported infections was around 15,000 in the first week of July but jumped to more than 50,000 in the first week of August. The ministry cited its testing efforts, with more than 800,000 tests in a single day, taking cumulative tests to more than 26 million.

Health experts say it needs to be higher, given India’s population of 1.4 billion.

India’s two-month lockdown imposed nationwide in late March kept infections low. But it has eased and is now largely being enforced in high-risk areas. The new cases spiked after India reopened shops and manufacturing and allowed hundreds of thousands of migrant workers to return to their homes from coronavirus-hit regions.

Subways, schools and movie theaters remain closed.

IANS added from New Delhi Aug. 12: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said 10 states in India account for 81 percent of total active Covid-19 cases. However, it is Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu who have contributed 23 percent and 8 percent respectively, and they could well be on their journey to defeat the virus soon, say experts.

An analysis by IANS, confirmed by the experts, clearly suggests that Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are inching towards hitting a peak in the virus load, just like Modi on Aug. 11 hoped that the country would emerge victorious in its fight against the pandemic if the virus is defeated in the 10 states.

As per the experts, the gap between inhibition of new cases versus cases recovered is filling in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. They referred to the case of Delhi which is believed to have crossed the peak in July last week.

Dr Prabhakaran Dodairaj, professor of Epidemiology at Public Health Foundation of India, said that the peak has arrived in Delhi while states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are inching towards it.

"We could see a downfall in the number of cases in Delhi. While in states of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, the recoveries have started getting closer to the daily number of cases and it is just a matter of time that it would outnumber it," said Dodairaj who also heads Centre for Control of Chronic Conditions at PHFI.

Dodairaj added that nothing could be said with certainty in case of the peak; however, trends suggest peak is near in case of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

Alpana Razadan, who heads Genestrings lab in Delhi, which is associated with the Delhi government to test Covid-19 samples, also concurred with Dodairaj taking a cue from Delhi.

"In Delhi, we hit the plateau in the last week of July when the daily positive cases were continuously going down. This is the criteria of hitting a peak that the curves flatten and cases go down. The same observation could be applied to Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu as well," Razdan said.

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