India, which is going through the world's biggest health crisis, is likely to see its COVID-19 death toll double from current levels in the coming weeks, according to researchers at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and the University of Washington.
Indian Institute of Science's research team projected that around 4,04,000 COVID-related deaths will occur by June 11, 2021, if the current trend continues, as per a Bloomberg report. On the other hand, the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicted more than 10.18 lakh deaths by the end of July.
While COVID-19 cases can be hard to predict, the forecasts indicate India's urgent need to step up its public health measures to curb the virus. The country could suffer the world's biggest COVID-19 death toll even if the worst estimates are avoided, added the report.
India reported more than 3.82 lakh new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and became the second country to record a total of 2 crore infections, after the United States. India's overall death toll currently stands at 2,22,408, as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). The US currently has the largest number of fatalities at about 5.78 lakh.
This recent surge of COVID-19 in India, which also includes a highly infectious new variant, has seen hospitals run out of beds and medical-grade oxygen, and crematoriums overflowing.
The COVID-19 second wave has been more crippling compared to the first wave as it took only 15 days to add 50 lakh cases, i.e., from 1.5 crore to 2 crore. Previously, 50 lakh cases were added to India's COVID-19 graph in 121 days, according to the MoHFW.
There are reports that India's outbreak is spreading to its neighbours too. Nepal recorded a 137 per cent increase in COVID cases to 31,088 last week, while Sri Lanka's outbreak was also growing, said WHO.
India, which accounts for almost 18 per cent of the world's population, reported 46 per cent of the new COVID-19 cases worldwide last week, reveals WHO in its weekly epidemiological report. Globally, 57 lakh new cases were reported last week and more than 93,000 deaths, the report added.