May 2021: India's Covid ordeal

India’s Covid ordeal in May was the worst witnessed in any country for any month since the beginning of the pandemic, both in terms of the absolute number of cases and fatalities. The month, however, ended on a note of relief, with less than 1.3 lakh fresh cases reported on Monday, the lowest daily tally in 54 days and the first time since April 9 that less than1.5 lakh infections were recorded in the country. The day’s death toll was below 2,500 (not counting 316 previous deaths added to Maharashtra’s toll), the lowest since April 22.

India recorded nearly 90.3 lakh Covid cases in May, by far the highest monthly count reported in any country so far. Although infections steadily declined through the second half of the month, the numbers overall were so high that the case count in May was 30% higher than the previous record of 69.4 lakh, also reported in India in the month of April.

The worst month of the pandemic in the US was December, when the country recorded 65.3 lakh cases, as per worldometers.info. In total cases per million, however, the US count is102,302, five times higher than India’s (20,144). The death toll from the pandemic in May was grimmer. India officially recorded nearly 1.2 lakh fatalities during the month (over 1,19,000), which was 2.5 times the toll reported in the country in April (48,768).

Many experts have said that the actual number of deaths from the pandemic could be much higher, citing the mismatch between the number of Covid-protocol funerals and the official death counts in several cities over the past two months.

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