NEW DELHI (AP) — India
's total virus cases since the pandemic
began surpassed 25 million on Tuesday, with over 260,000 new cases and a record 4,329 fatalities in the previous 24 hours.
Infections fell below 300,000 for the first time in weeks on Monday, and active cases in the country fell by more than 165,000 on Tuesday, the largest drop in weeks.
However, the number of deaths has continued to rise, and hospitals remain overcrowded.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, India has recorded nearly 280,000 virus deaths; however, experts warn that both the number of deaths and total reported cases are likely vastly underestimated.
Infections in India have risen dramatically since February, owing to more contagious strains of the virus as well as government decisions to allow large crowds to gather for religious festivals and political rallies.
According to Bhramar Mukherjee, a biostatistician at the University of Michigan
who is tracking India's battle with the virus, cases have more than tripled in the last month and reported deaths have increased sixfold — but testing has only increased by 1.6 times. With infections outpacing testing capabilities, there are fears that many cases are going undetected.
Experts also claim that India has lagged behind in conducting the necessary testing to track and better understand a concerning virus variant discovered in the country. On Monday, the Health Ministry announced the opening of 17 new labs to assist in tracking variants.
The variant, which was discovered in India, has sparked worldwide concern, most notably in the United Kingdom, where it has more than doubled in a week, defying a sharp national decline in infections.
Meanwhile, since India opened up vaccinations to all adults earlier this month, the rate of administration has slowed, with many states claiming they don't have enough stock to distribute. The southern state of Karnataka, for example, has temporarily halted its drive to inoculate those aged 18 to 44 at government-run centers due to a lack of doses.
: A Stardia Handbook
Do the side effects of your vaccines
predict how you will react to COVID-19
“I've been sick for almost a year from COVID-19.”
Should your child attend a summer camp this year?
These are the most common consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health
On our coronavirus hub page, you can find all of this and more.