India reported more than 300,000 new coronavirus infections for a 12th straight day on Monday to take its overall number of cases to just shy of 20 million, as scientists predicted a peak in the pandemic in the coming days.

Iran PressAsia: India has had 19.9 million confirmed coronavirus cases near 20 million since the start of the pandemic, behind only the US, which has counted more than 32.4 million.

More than 218,000 people in India have died, according to the Indian health ministry.

India reports more than 300,000 new coronavirus cases for a 12th straight day, taking its overall caseload to just shy of 20 million, while deaths rise by 3,417.

With more than 300,000 daily cases reported for nearly two weeks now, India is battling a ferocious second wave of the coronavirus that has overwhelmed its fragile and underfunded healthcare system.

On Saturday afternoon, 12 coronavirus patients died at New Delhi’s Batra Hospital after it ran out of medical oxygen. Among the dead was Dr. RK Himthani, head of gastroenterology at the same hospital.

The private hospital was among several across India to sound an alarm over a crippling oxygen shortage as they struggle to cope with patients pouring in, needing ventilators and ICU beds.

Hospitals are filled, medical oxygen supplies are running short and morgues and crematoriums are swamped.

Even then, experts say the official tally of confirmed cases and deaths in the world’s second-most-populous country is likely a massive undercount, with one estimate of infections at 10 times the official figure.

Deaths are a better indicator of the shape of the pandemic curve, and there are problems with the data in India.

"The biggest gap is what’s going on in rural India," experts said. In the countryside, people often die at home without medical attention, and these deaths are vastly underreported.

Families bury or cremate their loved ones themselves without any official record. About 70% of the nation’s deaths from all causes occur in rural India in any given year.


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