Ashwini Bhatia / AP
India passed 8 million confirmed coronavirus infections, becoming the second country to hit that milestone after the United States.
Daily new cases in India are continuing to decline after a record high in September, and a government-appointed panel of scientists has said the country is past its peak.
But the Hindu festival season, local elections and seasonal air pollution are raising fears that the virus could break out again.
For weeks during the fall, India was the country with the fastest spreading virus. In mid-September, it recorded nearly 100,000 new cases daily and is expected to overtake the United States in total caseload. But for over a month now, India has seen a steady decline in infections, even as it conducts about a million tests a day.
On Thursday, India’s Ministry of Health reported 49,881 new cases. Earlier this week, India recorded the lowest daily downloads in more than three months. Coronavirus deaths also decreased. India ranks third after the US and Brazil in coronavirus deaths and has recorded 120,527 deaths since the pandemic started.
But scientists and authorities are warning against complacency as public venues reopen across the country.
“This is not the time to think that the aura is gone or that the aura is no longer in danger,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned the Indian people in a televised speech the week before the Hindu festival season catches. head. People often gather in markets and stand shoulder to shoulder to pray and participate in festivals. That could cause coronavirus cases to increase again.
Although new infections are declining nationwide, the Indian capital New Delhi is seeing an increase in the number of infections. It recorded 5,673 new cases in the past 24 hours – the largest number to date.
The latest wave of infections in Delhi coincided with poor air quality during the colder months, when a thick cloud of smoke fell over the capital. It is a combination of smoke from vehicles, factories and smoke from plants burned in neighboring states. Studies show that air pollution can contribute to mortality from COVID-19.
There were also concerns that the virus could break out in the eastern state of Bihar, when voting took place there in early November. Politicians in Bihar held massive public protests. attract thousands of people a little bit out of society. Modi herself has settled the rallies there this week. Many of Bihar’s campaigners, including politicians from Modi’s ruling party, have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Bihar is the country’s third most populous state, with a population of about 122 million. It also has one of the weakest healthcare systems in the country. With more than 70 million qualified voters, the election in Bihar has been one of the largest in the world since the pandemic began.