India’s coronavirus confirmed cases crossed 5 million on Wednesday, still soaring and testing the country’s feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages, the AP reports. It's the second country to cross the 5 million threshold, after the US crossed it last month, per CNN. India's Health Ministry reported 90,123 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising the nation’s confirmed total to 5,020,359, about 0.35% of its nearly 1.4 billion population. It said 1,290 more people died in the past 24 hours, for a total of 82,066. India’s total coronavirus caseload is closing in on the United States’ highest tally of more than 6.6 million cases and expected to surpass it within weeks. India reported a record daily high of 97,570 cases on Sept. 11 and has added more than 1 million cases this month alone.
Experts warned that India’s case fatality rate could increase in coming weeks with lockdown restrictions relaxed except in high-risk areas. But authorities ruled out imposing a second countrywide lockdown as recoveries were growing at more than 78%. Its fatality rate is 1.6%, far lower than 3% each in the United States and Brazil, according to the Johns Hopkins Medicine and University. Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Tuesday that only about 6% of the coronavirus patients in India were on oxygen—0.31% on ventilators, 2.17% on intensive care unit beds with oxygen, and 3.69% on oxygen beds. Nationwide, India is testing more than 1 million samples per day, exceeding the World Health Organization’s benchmark of 140 tests per 1 million people.
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