India’s seven-day COVID average hits new high, WHO issues warning

India’s coronavirus crisis showed few signs of abating on Tuesday, with an average of seven days of new cases at a record high and international health authorities warning that the variant of the virus in the country is of global concern .

Daily coronavirus cases in India increased by 329,942, while deaths from the disease increased by 3,876, according to the Ministry of Health. The total number of coronavirus infections in India now stands at 22.99 million, while the total number of deaths has risen to 249,992.

India leads the world in the average daily number of new deaths reported, accounting for one in three deaths reported globally each day, according to a Reuters tally.

The seven-day average of new cases is a record 390,995.

The World Health Organization said the variant of the coronavirus first identified in the country last year was classified as a variant of global concern, with some preliminary studies showing that it spreads more easily. Read more

“We classify this as a variant of global concern,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO COVID-19 technical officer, said in a briefing in Geneva on Monday. “Some available information suggests increased transmissibility.” Read more

Countries around the world have sent oxygen cylinders and other medical equipment to support the crisis in India, but many hospitals across the country are struggling with a shortage of life-saving equipment.

Eleven people died on Monday evening at a government hospital in Tirupati, a town in southern Andhra Pradesh state, due to a delay in the arrival of an oxygen tanker, said a government official.

“There were problems with the oxygen pressure due to the low availability. It all happened within five minutes,” Mr. Harinarayan, the district’s top official said Monday evening, adding that the The SVR Ruia hospital now had sufficient oxygen.

Sixteen faculty members and a number of retired teachers and staff who lived on the campus of Aligarh Muslim University, one of India’s most prestigious, have died from the coronavirus, a declared the university.

Adding to the pressure on medical facilities, the Indian government has asked doctors to look for signs of mucormycosis or “black fungus” in patients with COVID-19, with hospitals reporting an increase in rare but potentially infection cases deadly.

The disease, which can cause a darkening or discoloration of the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, difficulty breathing and coughing up blood, is strongly linked to diabetes. And diabetes can in turn be exacerbated by steroids such as dexamethasone, used to treat severe COVID-19. Read more

Doctors nationwide had to warn against the practice of using cow dung in the belief that it would ward off COVID-19, saying there was no scientific evidence for its effectiveness and it risked to spread other diseases.

In the state of Gujarat in western India, some believers have visited cow shelters once a week to cover their bodies with cow dung and urine in the hope that it will strengthen their immunity to the coronavirus or will help them recover from the coronavirus.

“There is no concrete scientific evidence that cow dung or urine works to boost immunity against COVID-19, this is entirely based on belief,” said Dr. JA Jayalal, National President of Indian Medical Association.

India’s second wave has increased calls for a nationwide lockdown and prompted a growing number of states to impose tighter restrictions, impacting businesses and the economy in general .

Production of the Apple iPhone 12 (AAPL.O) at a factory in Foxconn (2317.TW) in the southern state of Tamil Nadu has fallen by more than 50% as workers infected with COVID-19 have had to leave their posts, two sources told Reuters. Read more

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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