India’s Virus Death Toll Becomes the World’s Fourth Largest, Topping U.K.
Health workers wearing protective masks work in a ward in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

India’s Virus Death Toll Becomes the World’s Fourth Largest, Topping U.K.

India’s Covid-19 death toll grew to the fourth largest globally as the disease’s spread continues to accelerate through the world’s second most populous country.

India added 942 deaths from the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, topping the U.K. with a total of 47,033 fatalities. Now India is only behind the U.S., Brazil and Mexico in the overall number of deaths. Its total number of confirmed cases, almost 2.4 million, is the third largest in the world.

India’s Virus Death Toll Becomes the World’s Fourth Largest, Topping U.K.

The mounting number of lives lost in India comes as the country’s outbreak has become one of the fastest growing in the world. India has been reporting about 60,000 or more new infections a day, higher than both the U.S. and Brazil, the two biggest outbreaks in absolute terms.

The epicenter of the disease is shifting from India’s globally connected cities like Mumbai and New Delhi to the country’s vast hinterland, where most of the population lives and medical infrastructure is considerably weaker.

Despite the rising number of deaths, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has touted the country’s fatality rate, which at 2% of cases is one of the world’s lowest, as a sign of success. However, India’s history of compiling incomplete death statistics at the best of times, and the difficulty of testing more than a small fraction of its 1.3 billion people, have led to speculation that deaths are being undercounted.

The rising numbers also reflect a broader shift as the pandemic -- which has sickened more than 20 million people and killed almost 750,000 -- moves from wealthier parts of the globe to developing nations whose health-care systems are quickly overwhelmed.

The greatest number of infections and fatalities from the pandemic are now found in developing countries such as Mexico and Brazil, as they surpass former hotspots like the U.K. and France. Among the 10 countries with the highest number of cases, the U.S. is the only one from the developed world, topping the list with more than 5 million infections.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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