CNN  — 

On April 17, ahead of a state election, a maskless Prime Minister Narendra Modi boasted to a sea of cheering supporters: “I’ve never ever seen such huge crowds at a rally.”

His country was on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. That day, India recorded more than 261,000 new coronavirus cases – more than many countries have seen during the entire pandemic.

And it was only going to get worse. Each day since April 22, the country has reported more than 300,000 new cases – at times