India reports record daily COVID-19 death toll, many cities in lockdown

India reported 1,761 deaths from COVID-19 overnight, its highest daily toll, with large parts of the country now under lockdown, as the country battles a second wave that has left people fighting for hospital beds, oxygen and medicines.

Total coronavirus cases in India are now at 15.32 million, second only to the United States.

Today, the health ministry reported 259,170 new infections, the world’s highest daily rate. It has reported daily infections above the 200,000 mark for six days.

The world’s second most populous country is grappling with its biggest public health emergency after it lowered its guard when coronavirus infections fell to a multi-month low in February, health experts and officials say.

India has also recorded 180,550 deaths, fewer than the 375,049 in Brazil and 581,542 in the US. Many experts, however, say that India is not testing enough people and the real numbers may be much higher.

Delhi, the capital city which has seen a surge in cases, began a six-day lockdown late on Monday that officials hope will slow the virus transmission and relieve the pressure on the health infrastructure.

People in Delhi and in towns of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, put out desperate calls for help on Twitter, asking for assistance getting their families into hospitals. Others reported dire shortage of oxygen and the anti-viral drug Remdesivir.