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India hit a new grim milestone Saturday: daily new COVID-19 cases topped 400,000 for the first time.
The second wave is worsening rapidly. India has already recorded more than 300,000 daily cases for 10 straight days. Some experts blame mass religious gatherings and political rallies for the severity of the wave.
More than 3,500 people have died in just the past 24 hours.
Hospitals, morgues and crematoriums are overwhelmed. One hospital in central India lacks basic medical equipment in working condition.
Families are scrambling for oxygen and scarce medicines.
Ashok Shukla’s mother is a patient here. Her oxygen levels have dropped.
“I went downstairs at the hospital, but they said they won’t be able to give me any oxygen cylinder because they don’t have it, either.”
India is the world’s biggest producer of COVID-19 vaccines. But shortages of the shots in some states have hindered its vaccination drive for all adults.
A growing number of countries has imposed travel restrictions. U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday banned most travel from India; those restrictions take effect on Tuesday.