NEW DELHI: Daily cases of Covid-19 in India crossed the grim landmark of 1 lakh on Thursday, just eight days after going past the 10,000 mark, as the virus continued to spread at an unprecedented speed in the country following the entry of the Omicron variant.
India had last recorded 1 lakh new infections in a day on June 6, 2021 — 214 days ago — when the second pandemic wave was on the wane. On Thursday, the tally of fresh cases swelled to nearly 1,17,000 (116,964, with one state yet to report), as per TOI’s Covid database. On Wednesday, India had reported 90,889 new cases.
A similar rise in daily Covid numbers — from 10,000 to 1 lakh — had taken 103 days during the first wave of the pandemic in India (when cases peaked at 98,795) and 47 days during the second wave. So, the current rate of growth appears to be five times faster than it was at the beginning of the second wave, which peaked at over 4 lakh daily cases.
In the 10 days since the surge began on December 28, cases have risen at a scorching daily rate of 35% so far. Thursday’s numbers were nearly 29% higher than Wednesday’s count. The previous two days had seen cases rise by 56.3% and 56.6%, respectively, following a rise in testing after the weekend.
On the positive side, death figures have risen only marginally in the last few days. On Thursday, 97 deaths were recorded (304 after taking old deaths into account), staying below the 100 mark for the second straight day after having risen to 112 on Tuesday.
Data from the last three days showed a slight uptick in fatalities, particularly from states such as Delhi where cases had started rising, gradually at first, since the beginning of December. The toll has also been rising in Bengal, which reported 19 deaths on Thursday, the highest in the country. Deaths were also up in Punjab (five on Thursday), Jharkhand (four) and Madhya Pradesh (two).
Active cases in India zoomed past 3.5 lakh on Thursday, up nearly 86,000 in a day amid the rush of new infections. Active cases had fallen to a low of under 75,000 on December 21. The tally crossed 1 lakh on December 31 and 2 lakh four days later.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra continued to lead the country by a long margin in detection of fresh cases. The state recorded 36,265 new infections on Thursday, up 36.6% in a day, with Mumbai logging 19,780 cases, its highest count since the beginning of the pandemic.
Bengal reported 15,421 fresh cases, up marginally from 14,022 on the previous day, with Kolkata accounting for 6,569. Delhi was close behind with 15,097 (up from 10,665 on Wednesday) and six deaths. Daily case numbers crossed 5,000 in Tamil Nadu (6,983, up from 4,862) and Karnataka (5,031, up from 4,246).
Cases rose to 4,213 in Gujarat (up from 3,350) while Kerala posted 4,649, a slight dip from Wednesday’s total of 4,801. Infections were rising sharply in Uttar Pradesh, which logged 3,121 (up from 2,038 on the previous day), Rajasthan (2,400, up from 1,615), Haryana (2,678, up from 2,176) and Bihar (2,379, from 1,659). Jharkhand, where, too, the infection has been spreading rapidly, posted 3,704 cases, a slight rise from 3,553 on the previous day.