India’s COVID-19 infections continue to surge at a record speed, with almost 4 lakh new cases added in a single day. With this, the number of total confirmed cases since the onset of the pandemic is nearly 1.9 crore. Of these, nearly 35 percent of cases have been added in April 2021.
The rise in single-day deaths remains above 3,000 for the 3rd straight day, with 3,498 casualties in 24 hours till 8 am this morning. India’s COVID-19 death toll now stands at around 2.1 lakh.
The main fear now is how the healthcare system will cope in rural Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where infections are on the rise. The growth rate in infections across the country is 2 percent, but in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, it is more than 3 percent. Uttarakhand has the highest growth rate in the country at 3.4 percent and Rajasthan is also above 3 percent.
The test positivity rate is the highest in Goa. The 7-day average test positivity rate in the state is 40 percent. The positivity rate in Delhi is more than 30 percent followed by West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Haryana.
While COVID cases and deaths soar, the pace of vaccination remains underwhelming. The number of vaccine doses administered remained at 22 lakh on Thursday as well. This resulted in the 7-day average vaccination dropping below 24 lakh and hitting the lowest level since April 5. India's total inoculations now stand at 15.3 crore, with just 2 percent of the total population fully vaccinated.
With less than 24 hours to go for phase 3 of vaccinations, millions in the 18 to 44 years age group register for COVID jabs. But only a select few states including Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Delhi and Rajasthan are set to receive 3 lakh Covishield doses each, over the next 2 days.
The Supreme Court today questioned the differential pricing in vaccination for states and the central government. It also asked the central government why it can't implement a national immunisation programme and provide vaccine free of cost to citizens.
The court also observed that private manufacturers cannot be left to decide which state gets how much quantity of vaccines.
The Supreme Court also warned authorities against any clampdown on information. This comes after police in Uttar Pradesh filed a case against a person sending an SOS for oxygen. The court went on to say, “we will treat it as contempt of court if such grievances are considered for action. Let a strong message go to all the states and DGP of states.”
To get a sense of the pandemic situation in the country, CNBC-TV18’s Shereen Bhan spoke to Dr Rajesh Malhotra, Chief of the COVID Facility at AIIMS New Delhi; Dr Vinayak Buvaji, President of the Indian Medical Association, Goa; and Dr Surya Kant, the National Vice Chairman of Indian Medical Association Academy of Medical Specialties and the Head of Respiratory Medicine Department at Lucknow’s King George Medical University.Watch the video for more.