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India tops 200,000 dead as virus surge breaks health system

Posted at 5:31 AM, Apr 28, 2021

The COVID-19 death toll in India has topped 200,000 as the country endures its darkest chapter of the pandemic yet.

The health ministry on Wednesday reported 3,293 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing India’s total fatalities to 201,187.

India has the fourth most deaths, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico. Experts, however, believe the numbers are an undercount.

The latest surge in cases has also yet to peak.

India saw a record 361,000 new cases of the virus on Tuesday, marking nearly a full week of at least 300,000 cases a day. That means deaths will likely only continue to rise in the coming weeks, as trends in deaths typically lag behind trends in cases.

India thought it had weathered the worst of the pandemic last year, but the current surge is sending its health systems toward collapse.

Patients are suffocating because hospitals’ oxygen supplies have run out. Fires at overwhelmed crematoriums are lighting up night skies.

President Joe Biden said yesterday that the U.S. will provide aid to India in the form of medicine and equipment in the coming days.

The White House has already announced plans to distribute 60 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine — a vaccine not yet approved for use in the U.S — and Biden on Tuesday said the country will send treatments like remdesivir, as well as equipment that will help the country to begin manufacturing its own vaccines.