On Saturday, India surpassed 10 million new coronavirus infections, far later than expected.
Just a month earlier the rate of infections in the country went down. People have also given up on wearing masks and social distancing in the region.
After reaching a high of almost 98,000 daily cases in mid-September, daily infections averaged about 30,000 this month, helping India widen its gap with the United States, which sees more than 16 million cases, becoming the worst affected country in the world.
In the past 24 hours, India reported 25,152 new infections and 347 deaths, health ministry data shows.
So far the virus has killed 145,136 individuals in the world.
It took India 30 days for the last million cases to be added, the second slowest since the pandemic started.
Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and local firm Bharat Biotech are scheduled to carry out vaccines shortly and are considering emergency-use demands for three forms.
But some health experts say the decline in cases means that many Indians may have developed virus antibodies by natural infection already.
“Herd immunity is a huge part of it … which is helping us to break the transmission,” said Pradeep Awate, a senior health official in India’s worst-hit state of Maharashtra, home to Mumbai.
Back in September, India’s wealthiest state was in desperate straits as its daily cases averaged 20,000 and hospitals ran out of beds and oxygen. It now has less than 5,000 cases registered.
“If infections were surging, we would have seen the number of patients in hospitals go up, especially after the festival season. That has not happened,” said Raman Gangakhedkar, who until recently headed epidemiology at the Indian Council Of Medical Research.
On Saturday, the Delhi National Capital Territory declared its third and the worst-case surge has now stopped. On Friday, it registered 1,418 new infections and 37 deaths.