India on Thursday recorded another 3,645 COVID-19 deaths, a new record for the country and a spike of over 350 from the previous day, according to health ministry data.
The country has now seen 204,832 deaths in total from the coronavirus pandemic, although many experts suspect that the true toll is higher.
India is experiencing a relentless new wave of infections, with almost 380,000 registered in the last 24 hours, breaking another world record.
This month alone the country has added over six million new cases.
The explosion in infections, blamed in part on a new virus variant as well as mass political and religious events, has overwhelmed hospitals with dire shortages of beds, drugs and oxygen.
The government’s chief scientific advisor K Vijay Raghavan admitted the government could have more to prepare for the second wave, in an interview with the Indian Express newspaper.
“There were major efforts by central and state governments in ramping up hospital and healthcare infrastructure during the first wave… But as that wave declined, so perhaps did the sense of urgency to get this completed,” he said.
But “it is just not possible to amplify the capacities of a public health system within a year to a level that would be sufficient to cope with what we are seeing now,” he added.
The crisis is particularly severe in New Delhi, with people dying outside packed hospitals where three people are often forced to share beds.