India, other COVID hot spots set more daily case records

Over the weekend, new daily infections in India crossed 100,000 cases for the first time, with cases soaring higher in other places, such as the Philippines and Ukraine.

Meanwhile, upticks in activity have other countries worrying about the start of fourth surges.

India surge driven by multiple factors

In a worsening second surge, India yesterday reported more than 100,000 new cases for the first time during the pandemic, a daily number that only the United States and Brazil have ever recorded, according to the Washington Post.

Health officials suspect that a combination of factors is fueling soaring case numbers: behavior changes, waning immunity from earlier infections, and the spread of new variants.

Maharashtra state in the western part of the country is the hardest hit area, making up roughly half of the new cases, and state officials yesterday tightened restrictions, closing malls, gyms, movie theaters, restaurants, and churches, according to the Post. Officials also ordered a weekend lockdown and a night curfew.

Like other countries, India is racing to vaccinate its population and has delivered the third highest number of vaccines, behind the United States and China, according to Reuters. The government is looking at ways to increase the country's vaccine output and has recently slowed exports to other countries.

In Bangladesh, on India's eastern border, the country began a weeklong national lockdown following a sharp rise in cases. A recent situation report from the World Health Organization said Bangladesh's cases were up 85% compared to the previous week.

Countries brace for the start of new surges

Experts in Japan are worried that they may be seeing the start of a fourth wave, due to more transmissible variants, with the Tokyo Summer Olympics just 109 days away, according to Reuters.

In Osaka, the country's current epicenter, record high cases triggered a 1-month lockdown.

South Korea has reported more than 500 cases for the fifth day in a row, prompting a warning from the health minister that the nation may be facing a fourth wave, according to CNN.

In the Middle East, Iran's health ministry said today that the country has entered its fourth wave, with activity widespread and moving eastward from the midwestern parts of the country to the east, according to the CNN.

So far, 88 cities are "red zone" areas, and the health ministry said it had been expecting cases to rise following people's return from holiday gatherings, including the Persian New Year, which began on Mar 21.

More global headlines

  • In Canada, Alberta health officials are investigating a significant P1 variant outbreak linked to a returning traveler, Deena Hinshaw, MD, MPH, the province's chief medical officer, said Apr 3 on Twitter. The announcement comes amid rising P1 activity in British Columbia, which forced the closure of a ski resort in Whistler.

  • In South America, Colombia extended its restriction due to rising cases and increased load on intensive care units (ICUs), and Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez, age 62, has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is having mild symptoms.

  • In the Philippines, the country's president extended a strict lockdown in Manila that had been slated to end yesterday, according to Reuters. The country reported 12,576 cases on Apr 3, and ICUs in the capital area are at a critical level.|

  • In Europe, Ukraine on Apr 3 reported another single-day high for new cases, and the capital city Kyiv began a strict lockdown starting today. And in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson today announced a plan to ease restrictions, with the first steps set for Apr 12, according to the BBC. The government is ramping up a twice-weekly free rapid testing program to help keep cases low and assist with reopening.

  • The global total today is at 131,576,415 cases, and 2,856,593 people have died from their infections, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

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