COVID-19 death toll in India passed 400,000 on Friday, making it the third country after the United States (U.S.) and Brazil to record more than 400,000 deaths. Also, the country has recorded 30 million cases – second only to the US.
Half of the fatalities had been reported during a virulent second wave that peaked in April and May which overwhelmed its healthcare systems and crematoria.
In the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry recorded 853 deaths related to Coronavirus, bringing the total tally to 400,312. Over 46,600 new infections were reported during the same time, taking the 1.3-billion-plus country’s caseload to 30.4 million, the ministry indicated.
Experts warn that the real number of fatalities might be much higher as many deaths are not officially recorded in India. The experts have also warned of an impending third wave.
India’s main challenge remains to vaccinate its huge population amid the threat of a third wave as only 4.5 per cent of India’s population had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The country is currently using two homegrown vaccines: Covishield and Covaxin. Russia’s Sputnik V has been also approved for use and is being used in some quantities.
The government is now racing to shore up its vaccine supplies, hoping to be well-prepared after a deadly second wave overwhelmed the country’s fragile healthcare system.