World

India’s cases surge past seven million, infections in US soar

NEW DELHI: India's coronavirus cases surged past seven million yesterday, taking it closer to overtaking the US as the world's most infected country.

Health Ministry data showed a rise of almost 75,000 cases yesterday, taking the total to 7.05 million, second only to the US, which has recorded 7.67 million infections.

Experts say the true number may be much higher, with testing rates in the vast country of 1.3 billion people - home to some of the planet's most crowded cities - much lower than in many other countries.

This is borne out by a string of studies measuring antibodies to the virus among the Indian population that have indicated infection rates could be several times higher than what is officially recorded.

India's death toll of 108,334 as at yesterday is also lower than in the US and other countries with higher caseloads.

The US has recorded 214,000 deaths, while Brazil - with two million fewer infections than India - has lost nearly 150,000 lives to the virus so far.

The rise in infections in India comes as the government continues to lift restrictions to boost an economy battered by a severe lockdown imposed in March.

In the US, meanwhile, new cases hit a two-month high on Friday with over 58,000 infections reported and hospitalisations in the Midwest at record levels for a fifth day in a row, according to a Reuters analysis.

Ten of the 50 states reported record one-day rises in cases on Friday, including the Midwestern states of Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri and Ohio.

Wisconsin and Illinois recorded over 3,000 new cases for a second day in a row - a two-day trend not seen even during the height of the previous outbreak in the spring, according to Reuters data.

The Western states of Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming also reported their biggest one-day jumps in cases, as did Oklahoma and West Virginia. Nineteen states have seen record increases in new cases so far this month. - AFP, REUTERS

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