India COVID-19 cases skyrocket amid an election campaign

On Saturday, the health ministry confirmed 285 new deaths, totaling the number to 483,463, and overall infections to 35.37 million

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(Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

As the Omicron variant of the coronavirus surpasses the Delta variant in large cities, India has announced 141,986 new daily COVID-19 cases, the worst since the end of May.

On Saturday, the health ministry confirmed 285 new deaths, bringing the total to 483,463, and overall infections to 35.37 million.

India Covid-19 infections are on the upsurge in India, particularly of the highly transmissible Omicron variety, leading the federal government and states to implement dozens of new restrictions.

Restaurants and bars are functioning at half capacity, triggering the reinstatement of night curfews. Schools and theatres have been shuttered in certain jurisdictions, and huge crowds have been toned down.

However, ahead of important state elections, India’s political leaders are occupied on the democratic ticket, speaking to crowds of tens of thousands of people, many of whom are not wearing masks.

Last year’s election period, when the Delta variant severely damaged the country, making India one of the worst-affected countries on the planet, the storylines are nearly identical.

Large crowds at campaign rallies, where politicians, which include Prime Minister Narendra Modi, frequently emerged without masks and addressed masses of people, contributed to last year’s surge.

The country’s health system was destroyed as a result of the storm, with citizens asking for oxygen as well as hospital beds. There was a shortage of room in crematoriums.

At the height of the crisis, daily deaths exceeded 4,000, with at least 200,000 individuals dying between March and May, an estimate largely assumed to be an underestimation.

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