In the sharpest single day spike yet, India registered 179 Covid-19 deaths and 3,597 new cases, taking the total number of infected persons to over 46,000 and the death toll to 1,568 as on Tuesday, according to the health ministry data.
The health ministry said the spike in deaths was because some states had not reported data in a timely manner. “After persuasion, these states have reported deaths, which is why you are seeing a lot of increase in the total number,” said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary at the health ministry. The latest trends show that the number of cases being added every day was on an upward trajectory, which could impact the doubling rate in the coming days. Cases rose from 23, 452 cases on April 23 to 46,433 on May 5.
Over the past three days, India has registered more than 2,000 new cases every day, setting another record.
“This is the highest increase in cases and deaths we have seen so far...Timely reporting of cases is very crucial. This was a gap noted in many states, which is being addressed now,” Agarwal said.
An inter-ministerial central team, which visited West Bengal to assess the Covid-19 situation, said the mortality rate in the state was the highest in the country at 12.8 per cent, indicating low testing, weak surveillance, and tracking.
The death toll in West Bengal shot up from 33 on May 3 to 133 on Tuesday. As on May 4, according to West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha the state had 1,259 coronavirus-positive cases and death toll of 61. The health ministry figures released on May 5 showed that the toll was more than double what the state had reported.
It was not just West Bengal, other states, too, recorded a spike in cases and deaths over the past two days. In Gujarat, the toll increased from 262 on Sunday to 319 on Tuesday. Maharashtra, which accounts for the highest number of Covid-19 cases at 14,541 and casualties at 583, saw 62 deaths over the past two days.
Meanwhile, cases in Punjab jumped from 772 to over 1,200 during the period, recording 23 deaths. Delhi, on the other hand, did not report a single death in the last two days.
While stressing that the doubling rate had improved from 3 days initially to 12 days now, Agarwal said the day-to-day increase would not follow a geometric progression. “Contact tracing and clinical management of the disease is very important. We can only win the battle with the shared effort of the entire society,” Agarwal said. As on Tuesday, there were 32,138 active cases in the country, while 12,726 had recovered.