India reported 314,835 new COVID-19 infections Thursday, the highest one-day total posted by any nation during the yearlong global pandemic.
By contrast, the United States posted 300,310 single day new cases on Jan. 2, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
India, the world's second-most populous country, is dealing with a second wave of infections that has pushed the country's health care system to the brink of collapse, with hospitals near capacity and facing an acute shortage of oxygen canisters. The oxygen shortage is so acute that the high court in the capital, New Delhi, ordered the national government to divert oxygen from industrial use to hospitals.
"Beg, borrow or steal," the judges said in response to a petition by a New Delhi hospital.
Thursday is the eighth consecutive day India has posted more than 200,000 new coronavirus cases, pushing the country's total number of infections to well over 15.9 million, second only behind the 31.8 million in the United States. India's health ministry also revealed that 2,104 people died Thursday, raising the overall death toll to 184,657, as the current surge has overwhelmed cemeteries and crematories.
Experts have blamed the surge on the spread of more contagious variants of the virus, as well as lifting restrictions on large crowds when the outbreak appeared to be under control earlier this year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come under fire for holding packed political rallies and allowing an annual Hindu religious festival that attracted millions of pilgrims.
The latest figures from Johns Hopkins puts the total number of COVID-19 infections at 143,863,870, including more than 3 million deaths. In addition to the total number of confirmed cases, the U.S. leads in the number of total fatalities with 569,402.
A preliminary study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine shows the two-shot vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna do not pose any serious risk during pregnancy.
The study used data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's smartphone-based vaccine surveillance system, where participants complete regular surveys about their health and any side effects they may be experiencing after being inoculated. More than 35,000 pregnant women who received either vaccine between December 14, 2020 and February 28, 2021 reported the same general side effects experienced by non-pregnant women, including pain at the injection site, fatigue, headaches and muscle pain.