India has reported a record daily rise in coronavirus cases of 414,188, while deaths from COVID-19 swelled by 3,915, according to the health ministry data.
India’s total coronavirus infections now stand at 21.49 million, while its total fatalities have reached 234,083, the ministry said on Friday.
The South Asian nation which is battling a ferocious second wave of coronavirus has added 1.57 million cases and just over 15,100 deaths this week alone.
Experts believe both the number of daily cases as well as deaths are an undercount.
K Vijay Raghavan, principal scientific adviser to the government, described the explosion of cases “a very critical time for the country” and warned of an “inevitable” third wave.
Anthony Fauci, US President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, suggested a complete shutdown in India may be needed for two to four weeks to help ease the surge of infections.
“As soon as the cases start coming down, you can vaccinate more people and get ahead of the trajectory of the outbreak of the pandemic,” Fauci said in an interview with the Indian television CNN News18 news channel on Thursday.
Fauci suggested that India should mobilise its military to erect field hospitals that could ease the pressure on its beseiged hospitals.
Fauci also said it appears there are at least two types of virus variants circulating in India. He said B117, which is the UK variant, tends to be concentrated in New Delhi and the 617 variant is concentrated in the worst-hit western Maharashtra state.
“Both of those have increasing capability of transmitting better and more efficiently than the original Wuhan strain a year ago,” Fauci said.