In February, it seemed like India had gotten Covid-19 under control, with daily cases falling nearly 90% from the peak of the first wave last year.
Now, the country is experiencing the world’s worst outbreak. India reported 323,144 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, marking the first time in a week that cases have dipped after hitting record highs, according to a CNN tally of figures from the Indian Ministry of Health.
On the ground, these numbers translate to heart wrenching tragedy. Photos show grieving families dressed in full protective suits at mass cremations, performing last rites surrounded by dozens of other burning funeral pyres. Hospitals have run out of basic medical supplies, with many patients dying due to oxygen shortages. Family members are driving from clinic to clinic, frantically searching for open ICU beds for their loved ones.
The government has been scrambling to respond to the crisis, with countries around the world offering aid. But for now, the outbreak shows no signs of letting up, and experts warn it could get even worse.
“I’m afraid this is not the peak,” said Dr. Giridhara R. Babu of the Public Health Foundation of India on Monday. “The kind of data that we see, (we are) at least two to three weeks away from the peak.”
Others say India may be approaching the peak now, sooner than Babu’s estimate — but with so many ill and so few supplies available, the country will see many more deaths before the second wave subsides.
Read more about the crisis in India: