New Delhi — There are new calls for India’s prime minister to implement a nationwide shutdown, as COVID-19 spreads at a breakneck speed. The country on Saturday reported more than 4,000 deaths due to the virus, marking a new single-day high.
The coronavirus is claiming lives faster than India can bury or cremate them — after it felt like the country had dodged a freight train, CBS News’ Chris Livesay reports. Last year, when the U.S. and much of the world were reeling in the pandemic, India was relatively unscathed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the credit, saying “we saved mankind from a big disaster by saving our citizens from the pandemic”
Defying warnings from the government’s own scientists, the country opened up. Social distancing vanished at political rallies and religious gatherings, including one on the Ganges, thought to be the biggest super-spreader event in history.
Since February, infections have spiked: 200,000, 300,000, and now more than 400,000 cases in a single day — for the third day in a row, forcing makeshift crematories.