New infections at 47,092, deaths increase by 509, with southern state accounting for 70% of new cases.
India has reported the largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases in two months, as the government worries about the virus spreading from the worst-hit state of Kerala, schools reopening and the start of the festival season.
Densely populated Kerala at the southern tip of India accounted for nearly 70% of 47,092 new infections and one-third of deaths, a week after celebrating its biggest festival in which family and social gatherings were common .
“With the increase in cases in Kerala, adequate measures must be taken to contain the interstate spread of COVID-19,” Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in a statement on Thursday after speaking with his counterparts. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, which border Kerala. .
He asked them to increase vaccination in districts near Kerala.
India has so far administered 662 million doses, with at least 54 percent of its 944 million adults having received one dose and 16 percent having taken two.
Vaccinations have skyrocketed in recent days as supplies improve. And with more than two-thirds of Indians already having antibodies to fight COVID, mostly through natural infection, experts believe another national wave will be less deadly than the last in April and May when tens of thousands of people are dead and that hospitals ran out of beds and oxygen.
A recent, non-peer reviewed study from Kerala, which also offers hope, showed that one dose of AstraZeneca vaccine, the mainstay of India’s vaccination campaign, generates 30 times more antibodies in previously infected people than fully vaccinated people who have never contracted the virus. .
“A well-managed vaccination program, along with the hybrid immunity we are currently seeing, make a massive third wave unlikely,” said clinical immunologist and rheumatologist Padmanabha Shenoy, who led the study and was referring to the immunity against natural infection and vaccine. dose.
The federal government has nevertheless warned that, like in Kerala, the rest of India could also see an increase in infections around the festival season starting this month and ending in early November.
Some parents are also concerned about the reopening of physical classes – voluntary and primarily for college and above – in the capital New Delhi and states like Gujarat.
India has so far reported around 32.9 million infections, the highest number in the world after the United States. Deaths rose by 509 on Thursday to a total of 439,529, which experts say is a massive undercoverage.