India recorded 314,835 cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, the highest number of infections recorded in a single day in any country since the start of the pandemic, pushing the country’s hospitals to the brink.

The unprecedented spread of the virus, blamed on a more contagious strain as well as lax security measures, has overwhelmed hospitals, creating severe shortages of beds, oxygen and medicine in major cities. Social media is teeming with desperate appeals from people whose loved ones are sick but have repeatedly been fired from hospitals.

Hospitals have warned they cannot keep up with demand, with some reporting that they have only a few hours of oxygen supply left.

“Covid-19 has become a public health crisis in India leading to a collapse of the health care system,” Krutika Kuppalli, assistant professor in the division of infectious diseases at the University of South Carolina at the University of Medicine of South Carolina, told Twitter on Twitter. United States.

In the western Indian state of Maharashtra, at least 24 Covid-19 patients died on Wednesday when the oxygen supply to their ventilators ran out due to a leak. The state tightened its lockdown on Wednesday evening, announcing that all offices, private vehicle travel is only allowed in the event of a medical emergency, and only medical workers and government employees can use the train system.

A total of 2,104 deaths were recorded on Wednesday, a record for India. More than a million cases have been recorded in the past four days.

Among the dead was Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, whom Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to, writing on Twitter: “He will be remembered for his insightful knowledge on matters of theology and spirituality. He was also passionate about community service and social empowerment.

Some of India’s most prominent politicians have fallen ill, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was admitted to hospital this week after testing positive despite having been vaccinated.

Former Delhi minister Dr AK Walia was confirmed on Thursday to have passed away. Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of the Communist Party of India, also announced that his son, Ashish, has passed away. He thanked “everyone who gave us hope and cared for him – doctors, nurses, frontline health workers, sanitation workers and countless others who stood by our side”

Since the start of the pandemic, India has recorded 15.93 million cases, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

Before Wednesday, the record for the highest number of daily cases recorded in the world 300,310, recorded by the United States on January 2. Her infections have now dropped rapidly and nearly four in ten people have received a dose of the vaccine, according to the University of Oxford’s Our World in Data project, which tracks data related to the pandemic.

“We never thought that a second wave would hit us so hard,” Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, executive chairman of Biocon & Biocon Biologics, an Indian healthcare company, wrote in the Economic Times.

“Complacency has led to unforeseen shortages of drugs, medical supplies and hospital beds.”

Health experts say the country relaxed security measures too quickly, mistakenly assuming the virus was gone. Weddings and big festivals were allowed to take place, while Modi organized packed political rallies for the local elections.

India has so far administered nearly 130 million doses of the vaccine, the most in the world after the United States and China. Yet with a population of 1.38 billion, this still means that only 8% of people have received at least one vaccine.

The government had planned to offer vaccines, which are currently offered to frontline workers and people aged 45, to all adults starting next month. However, supplies are running out in many states and the Serum Institute of India, which makes the AstraZeneca vaccine, has lowered its production forecast. He had planned to increase his monthly output to 100 million doses from the 60 million to 70 million currently at the end of May, but now expects that to be possible only in July.