As the world approached 35 million cases of coronavirus Saturday, India reached a grim milestone of more than 100,000 dead from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. It is the third country in the world to pass that mark, following the United States and Brazil, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
India’s health ministry reported 100,842 deaths, while the number of infections reached 6.47 million, adding nearly 80,000 new cases in one day.
With winter approaching, and the Hindu festival of Diwali next month, the world’s second most populous country could see a jump in cases, health experts said.
“We have seen some recent slowdown of the virus curve, but this may be a local peak, there may be another coming,” Bhramar Mukherjee, a professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan told Reuters.
She said that just over 7% of India’s 1.3 billion people have been exposed to the virus, meaning herd immunity is still far away. Herd immunity is reached when most of a population is immune to a disease.
By the end of the year, Mukherjee said, 12.2 million Indians could be infected. The spread could be slowed, she said, through measures such as social distancing, face covering and hand washing.
“So it will continue like a slow burning coil, that is my hope, and we have to play the long game to stop it from being a wildfire,” she told Reuters.
Meanwhile, several European countries continue to struggle against a surge in cases, reporting record one-day increases.
Britain reported 12,872 new cases Saturday. The government said the jump was partly the result of technical issues that had delayed the reporting of cases from September 24 to October 1.
Even so, 12,872 is nearly twice the 6,968 cases reported Friday, and it smashed the previous biggest daily toll of 7,143, recorded Tuesday.
France also set a new daily record of confirmed coronavirus infections Saturday — nearly 17,000 — about 5,000 more than it reported Friday. It now has nearly 630,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The number of deaths rose to 32,171, the third highest in Europe after Britain and Italy, also according to Johns Hopkins.
Ireland reported 613 new cases, the most in a day since April when it was in lockdown, the acting chief medical officer said Saturday. Ireland, a nation of not quite 5 million people, now has more than 37,000 cases, Johns Hopkins said.
Like most of Europe, Ireland has seen a steady increase in infections since the end of July and has tightened restrictions as a result, including banning all indoor restaurant dining and most trips in and out of the capital, Dublin.
On the other side of the world, the Solomon Islands has reported its first case of coronavirus. The Solomons had fought to remain free of the deadly virus, including closing its border in March.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, speaking in a televised address, said a student who recently returned from the Philippines on a repatriation flight has tested positive after testing negative three times before boarding the plane.
Sogavare reassured the archipelago that no lockdown would be needed and that the government would work to bring home 18 other students in quarantine in Manila.