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No respite in India as country sets Covid-19 infection record for third straight day

India reported 346,786 new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday — the third day in a row the country has set a world record for infections during the coronavirus pandemic, according to government and scientific tallies.

It now has more than 16.6 million cases since the start of the pandemic, a CNN tally of figures from the Indian Ministry of Health reveals. The related death toll for the previous 24 hours hit 2,624 — also a daily record for India — for 189,544 total fatalities. Saturday’s announcement represents the highest number of cases recorded in a single day anywhere in the world. Before India’s three-day run of record infections, the global highest in a day was the 300,310 cases recorded in the US on January 2, according to a CNN tally of figures from John Hopkins University.

India’s population is roughly four times that of the US, and its daily cases still fall behind the US when adjusted for population size (in cases per million people). The Covid-19 infections are devastating India’s communities and hospitals. Everything is in short supply — intensive care unit beds, medicine, oxygen and ventilators. Bodies are piling up in morgues and crematoriums. “We’re going through pretty much the worst possible phase of the pandemic here,” Chandrika Bahadur, chair of the Lancet Commission on Covid-19 India Taskforce, said on Wednesday. Compounding the tragedy in India, a fire in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Virar, a city north of Mumbai, early Friday killed at least 15 coronavirus patients, a senior local administration official told CNN.

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