India on Thursday reported a second consecutive day of surging Covid-19 cases, with 13,154 new infections — a 43% rise from the previous day.
Earlier this month, India’s Health Ministry noted “initial signs of a surge,” with doctors on the ground warning they were seeing an influx in cases — now reflected in the daily case count.
Political gatherings: On Thursday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a political gathering set to draw thousands in the state of Uttarakhand, where an election looms early next year. Modi has held several such gatherings in other states including multiple events in Uttar Pradesh this month.
Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state, and a critical battleground in the upcoming state elections. Other political parties have also been holding gatherings; Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal will hold a “victory march” in Chandigarh, Punjab, where he won local elections on Thursday.
Medical experts have warned that holding such large events without proper Covid precautions could risk further spreading Omicron — though Delta is currently still the prevalent variant in India.
Doctors on strike: The availability of manpower could be a critical factor during a potential third wave, with resident doctors in Delhi striking for 14 consecutive days. The Indian Medical Association has warned of a shortage of 45,000 doctors on the frontline due to a delay in allocating new doctors to hospitals.