India hit a grim milestone on Wednesday, becoming the first country besides the United States to report more than 5 million coronavirus cases.
Over the past week, India’s tally of infections has grown by more than 650,231, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. No other country reported as many new cases, and India’s total is nearly three times that of the United States, which had the second-largest increase.
Since India ended its nationwide lockdown in June, outbreaks have exploded, with the country setting a record when 97,570 new cases were reported in a single day last week. More than a million cases have been reported in September alone, and experts believe India will soon claim the unpleasant distinction of having the world’s highest number of infections. Currently, the United States leads with more than 6,558,000 cases, compared to over 5,020,000 in India.
Despite its worrying caseloads, India has reported just six coronavirus-related deaths for every 100,000 people, significantly fewer than the United States or Brazil. Some experts have suggested that having a relatively young population may have helped to lower the fatality rate, while others have pointed out that the unreliability of India’s mortality data makes it hard to trust the death toll.
While restrictions have been reimposed in some particularly hard-hit areas of India, officials have ruled out the possibility of a second nationwide lockdown, according to the Associated Press. In many parts of the country, restaurants, bars and other businesses remain open despite the surge in cases, and some older students will return to school next week.