India recorded 401,993 new coronavirus infections in a span of 24 hours, the highest single-day rise so far, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 19,164,969, while active cases crossed the 33 lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Saturday.
With this, India became the first country in the world to register over 400,000 infections in a single day. As many as 3,498 new deaths were also reported on the day taking the total death toll to 211,835.
Considering the grave situation in India, Dr Anthony S Fauci, the US's most admired infectious expert recommended that a few weeks shut down will help India to take critical steps to thwart the ferocious second COVID wave, in a talk with The Indian Express.
According to Fauci, vaccinating people which is absolutely essential, is not going to alleviate the immediate problem of people needing oxygen, needing hospitalisation, needing medical care.
"That's not going to fix it now because vaccinating people today, it's going to be a few weeks before you alleviate the prevention of other people getting sick," IE quoted Fauci as saying.
He opined that India should first tackle this immediate problem of availing oxygen and medical treatment to people and suggested that there should be some sort of a commission, or an emergency group to make a plan on how to get oxygen supplies, medications or to seek help from WHO — countries.
According to Fauci, the intermediate step after that is to mobilise different groups of government to alleviate the crisis and that hospitals should be built quickly in respect to thinking of the pandemic as a 'war and the enemy is the virus.'
'Address the absolute immediate problem, get the intermediate things going, and then take a look at the longer-range in regards to vaccines,' Fauci asserted in the talk with IE.
The central government on Friday had expressed concern that many states are not only recording a higher peak of coronavirus cases than in September last year but also seeing a high growth trajectory.
Among the states are Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Odisha.
However, Maharashtra continues to be the worst-affected state as it reported nearly 63,000 new cases on Friday. It is followed by Karnataka (48,000), and Kerala (37,000).