India becomes second country with over 5 million COVID-19 cases

Posted Sep 16, 2020 by Karen Graham
India’s confirmed coronavirus cases crossed 5 million on Wednesday, still soaring and testing the country’s feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages.
India virus cases cross 5 million in  worse than sci-fi  pandemic.
India virus cases cross 5 million in 'worse than sci-fi' pandemic.
Dibyangshu SARKAR, AFP
According to the Ministry of Health, India reached the 5 million cases mark after reporting 90,123 new infections in the past 24 hours, reports CNN. The country has identified 1 million cases in just 11 days since crossing the 4 million mark on September 5.
There have been 1,290 new coronavirus deaths reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll from the virus to 82,066. With a population of 1.35 billion people, India has seen a rapid increase in new cases in the past few weeks. It took nearly six months for the populous country to reach one million cases, yet it added four million in just the past two months.
The bad news is that in a few weeks, India is expected to surpass the United States' total of more than 6.6 million cases. Health officials are also worried that the country's death toll from the virus could increase due to the relaxation of lockdown restrictions.
India's fatality rate is 1.6 percent - far lower than the 5 percent each in the United States and Brazil, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine and University.
Need for oxygen support
An official from India's Health Ministry says that at least 6.0 percent of the country's active coronavirus cases need oxygen support, according to Reuters.
Health ministry official Rajesh Bhushan said that supplies are "adequate," but state governments should monitor them closely. Talking about shortages of oxygen that have been reported, Bhushan said: “The problem happens when at a facility level, if there is no inventory management. Every state should ensure this."
In the capitol of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, the total requirement of oxygen cylinders stood at 5,000 cylinders compared with 1,000 cylinders in normal times, a government official said. The country's worst-affected state of Maharashtra has decided to curtail the amount of oxygen cylinders it is supplying to neighboring states to meet its own growing demand.