New Delhi: India on Saturday crossed the sombre milestone of one crore COVID-19 cases, adding 10 lakh infections in nearly a month, even as the virus spread slowed and recoveries surged to over 95.50 lakh, according to Union Health Ministry data.
The country's COVID-19 case tally had surpassed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, and 40 lakh on September 5.
It went past 50 lakh on September 16, 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, 80 lakh on October 29, and surpassed 90 lakh on November 20.
The health ministry's data updated at 8 a.m on Saturday showed the total number of cases mounted to 1,00,04,599, and the death toll to 1,45,136 with the virus claiming 347 more lives in a span of 24 hours.
However, the COVID-19 case fatality rate has further declined to 1.45%.
India reported its first COVID-19 case 323 days ago on January 30 in Kerala, while the first death was reported on March 10 in Karnataka.
Asked if the worst was over for India, Dr Samiran Panda, the Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research, said the epidemiological curve has come down for some states, while there is a fluctuation for others.
"More states, we have seen effective control while in some of the states we need to be mindful and watchful. The state scenarios are different from each other," Panda told PTI.
When asked if a second peak of COVID-19 can be worse, noted clinical scientist Gagandeep Kang opined the transmission will not be as rapid as was seen the first time and peak will not be as high.
"I don't think the exposure is enough to say that we have herd immunity and won't need to worry about it again, but I think it is enough to ensure that we will some level of protection so that the transmission will not be as rapid as was seen the first time and peak will not be as high as we saw the first time,” she said.
"The problem has not gone away it will not go away with herd immunity, but I don't think necessarily we will see second higher peaks as has been seen in the West," Kang said.
India is in the number one position in terms of the number of recovered coronavirus cases, followed by Brazil, according to the Johns Hopkins University, which has been compiling COVID-19 data from all over the world.
India is the second worst-hit nation in terms of COVID-19 cases after the US, while it is in the third spot in terms of fatalities globally after the US and Brazil, according to JHU data.
The worst affected states and UTs with highest number of COVID-19 cases are Maharashtra (18,88,767), Karnataka (9,07,123), Andhra Pradesh (8,77,806), Tamil Nadu (8,04,650), Kerala (6 93,865), Delhi (6,14,775) and Uttar Pradesh (5,72,196).
A total of 1,45,136 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 48,574 from Maharashtra, followed by 11,989 from Karnataka, 11,954 from Tamil Nadu, 10,219 from Delhi, 9,277 from West Bengal, 8,154 from Uttar Pradesh, 7,070 from Andhra Pradesh, 5,170 from Punjab and 4,220 from Gujarat, as per the health ministry data.
There are 3,08,751 active cases in the country which constitute 3.08% of the total caseload, the data stated.
"The declining active cases have ensured that the active cases per million population in India are amongst the lowest in the world," the Health Ministry said in a statement.
Just 10 states/UTs have contributed 73.58% of the new cases.
Kerala reported 5,456 cases in the last 24 hours. West Bengal 2,239, while Maharashtra 1,960, the ministry said.
As much as “78.96 per cent of the 347 case fatalities that have been reported in the past 24 hours are from ten States/UTs. Maharashtra has reported the maximum new daily deaths with 75 deaths. West Bengal also saw a fatality count of 42,” the ministry said.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, a cumulative 16,00,90,514 coronavirus samples have been tested up to 19th December, 11,71,868 of them on Friday.
"Comprehensive and widespread testing on a sustained basis has resulted in bringing down the positivity rate. The cumulative Positivity Rate stands at 6.25 per cent as of today," the Health Ministry said.