Pushed by a mammoth surge of infections in the country’s second wave over the past few weeks, the number of active cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in India on Friday crossed the million mark after a gap of nearly seven months.
As of Thursday night, there are 1,046,303 active cases in India, the highest active caseload ever recorded in the country since the start of the outbreak in March last year, according to HT’s Covid-19 dashboard.
Nearly 47% of the active cases have been added to the country’s tally in the past 10 days. If this period is narrowed down to the past week, then the country has added more than 55,205 active cases to its tally every single day on average, another all-time record.
On Friday, for the fourth day running, India set a new record for new Covid-19 infections as 144,923 new cases were reported, while 773 daily deaths were lodged. India’s overall caseload now has reached 13.2 million – the third-highest after the United States and Brazil – and 168,487 people have lost their lives to the disease so far, according to HT’s dashboard.
The national seven-day average of new cases is now at 115,948, currently the highest in any country in the world making India the world’s largest Covid-19 hot spot nation. India’s total number of infections is currently on pace to soon overtake Brazil’s caseload of 13.28 million.
The last time the country had more than a million active cases was on September 20 last year, at a time when the first wave was raging at its peak. With the first wave coming under control, this number then steadily dropped for six months, and touched to a low of around 137,000 on February 11. However, with the start of the second wave, this receding has now reversed, and the active caseload is now rising at a level that has never been recorded before in the year of the outbreak in India.
Active cases – those Covid patients still under treatment – is a crucial metric representing the country’s battle against the viral disease because it directly reflects the pressure on the health care system in a region and shows the number of people who are currently carrying the virus.
Maharashtra, the country’s worst-hit region, alone has 536,063 active cases, accounting for 51% of all such cases in the country as on Friday. Chhattisgarh is at the second spot with 76,868 active cases (7% of the national active caseload), followed by Karnataka with 58,084 such infections.
At least six states and Union territories – Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab – have so far surpassed their peaks during the first wave. Meanwhile, cases in several other states such as Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Rajasthan and Goa are rising dangerously close to their previous peaks. On Thursday, five states – Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh – set new single-day records for daily infections. For Uttar Pradesh, Friday was the second day in a row that it crossed its previous record of daily cases. On Thursday, the state reported 8,474 new cases, while on Friday it recorded 9,587 cases.
The resurgence of cases has pushed several state governments across the country to reintroduce lockdown-like curbs on social movement in an attempt to bring cases in control. Authorities in Maharashtra have imposed a weekend lockdown which came into effect on Friday evening. In Chhattisgarh, the capital district Raipur, is under a 10-day lockdown, while Delhi and its adjoining satellite towns of Noida and Ghaziabad are all under a night curfew.