India sets new COVID world record as oxygen demand jumps seven-fold

·1 min read

India has seen demand for oxygen jump "seven-fold" as the country set a new world record for daily COVID-19 cases on Thursday, per AP.

By the numbers: India's health ministry reported 412,262 new infections, taking the official tally past 21 million, and 3,980 deaths from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours. The official death toll now stands at 230,168. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher.

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The big picture: Hospitals are running critically low on oxygen supplies, having been grappling with a huge wave of COVID-19 infections since last month, driven largely by new virus variants.

  • Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said there's enough liquid oxygen in the country, but officials are facing transportation logistics, AP notes. Most oxygen is produced in eastern India, but demand has increased in the north and west.

  • India's Supreme Court on Wednesday gave Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government one day to "submit a plan to supply" hospital in New Delhi with oxygen, as the capital reported receiving only 40% of its daily needs, Al Jazeera reports.

What to watch: The country's vaccine production is "expected to get a boost" with the Biden administration backing an intellectual property protections waiver for COVID-19 doses, per AP.

Go deeper: Foreign aid pours into India as COVID-19 crisis worsens

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