India on Thursday reported 314,835 new COVID-19 cases in the country over the previous 24 hours, the highest one-day case count of the coronavirus pandemic. Another 2,104 people died from the disease, the health ministry said, bringing India's official total to 184,657 deaths. India's second wave of COVID-19, fueled by new variants and loosened mitigation measures, has led to a shortage of hospital beds and medical oxygen for COVID-19 patients. The previous one-day record was from the U.S. on Jan. 8.
"As cases worldwide reach new weekly records, 40 percent of the infections are coming from India, a sobering reminder that the pandemic is far from over, even as infections decline and vaccinations speed ahead in the United States and other wealthy parts of the world," The New York Times reports. India's new seven-day average of more than 1,300 COVID-19 deaths a day "is less than at the worst points of the pandemic in the United States or Brazil, but it is a steep increase from just two months ago, when fewer than 100 people in India were dying daily."
The oxygen shortage is so acute that the New Delhi High Court on Wednesday ordered the government to "beg, borrow, or steal" oxygen from industrial and other sources and give it to hospitals. There are so few hospital beds that India's government, criticized for holding mass rallies and allowing super-spreader Hindu festivals to take place, has turned 75 railroad coaches into mobile COVID-19 hospitals.