(Reuters) - India on Thursday reported 314,835 new cases of the novel coronavirus over the previous 24 hours, the world's largest one-day rise in case numbers, a grim reminder of the threat still posed by the virus. Deaths rose by a record 2,104.
Following are some reactions to the figures:
PRASHANT KHADAYATE, PHARMA DIVISION HEAD, GLOBALDATA PLC, HYDERABAD:
"The situation will get worse and we will break many more grave milestones in the near future.
"Nobody knows by when we are going to control this ... several states are locking down, but only for 3 or 4 days or a week. I think a 15-day lockdown is a must if we really want to control the infection rate."
SHAHID JAMEEL, VIROLOGIST, DIRECTOR TRIVEDI SCHOOL OF BIOSCIENCES, ASHOKA UNIVERSITY, SONIPAT:
"Right now there are no beds, no oxygen. Everything else is secondary."
"We let our guard down too early, opened up. People stopped following procedures.
"We really didn't prepare in the time we got. As a result, the healthcare system is severely short-staffed right now ... the infrastructure is crumbling."
PROFESSOR NIKOLAI PETROVSKY, COLLEGE OF MEDICINE AND PUBLIC HEALTH, FLINDERS UNIVERSITY, ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA:
"We were always expecting India to be one of the most severely hit countries because of its size, number of people and poor medical infrastructure. It always looked to be a time bomb and I think everyone was surprised when in the early part of the pandemic they didn't seem to get hit as hard as some of the other countries.
"People in India started to think they managed to escape the pandemic. Now, of course, we are seeig a much more significant problem emerging, and you know, it could prove disastrous. You can't even vaccinate 1.2 billion overnight, it's just not possible even with all the best resources."
RAHUL GANDHI, SENIOR LEADER, CONGRESS PARTY, ON TWITTER:
"Modi govt has put us into a situation where a lockdown is going to come and now again we are going to go through the same - migrants going back, no money to the migrants. Modi govt has already broken their legs, now they are going to cut off their heads."
GIRIDHAR BABU, PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, PUBLIC HEALTH FOUNDATION OF INDIA:
"We cannot rule out the role of more infectious variants (homegrown and known imported variants) in different parts of the country. In most samples in Punjab, the UK variant is isolated, while the available evidence indicates the 'double mutant' strain is mostly prevalent in the state of Maharashtra. While it is known that the UK variant is more contagious, evidence regarding the Indian strain is yet to emerge."
PROFESSOR RIJO M. JOHN, HEALTH ECONOMIST, RAJAGIRI COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, KERALA:
"Once the cases from the first wave began dropping and reached a low, there had been an overwhelming feeling among the general public that the worst was behind and they were out of danger. It was partly fuelled by irresponsible statements from several political leaders, many from the ruling government itself, leading people to inadvertently believe that India had defeated COVID19. Perhaps, this may have lead them to engage in laxer behaviour.
"The government-supported pandemic model during the first wave had predicted zero to very minimal cases beyond February 2021 and suggested India may never have a second wave."
DR KIRIT GADHVI, PRESIDENT, AHMEDABAD MEDICAL ASSOCIATION:
"The situation is very critical. Patients are struggling to get beds in COVID-19 hospitals. There is especially acute shortage of oxygen beds and beds in ICU.
"There is a fear among doctors. The reason being that in many cases, the condition of COVID-19 patient deteriorates very quickly, leading to sudden death. Family members or relatives of patients do not realize the problem, and blame doctors and hospitals, who have to face their wrath. Such incidents have gone up as hospitals are packed."
BUM KI SON, ASIA ECONOMIST, BANK OF AMERICA-MERRILL LYNCH, HONG KONG, IN REPORT:
"We ... do not see the worst of the COVID situation over in India yet, as the infection resurgence has been driven by mutated variants. The variants in India is with a much higher reproduction coefficient than before. Furthermore, the return of migrant workers from cities to rural areas are taking place again, notably from hard-hit states such as Delhi and Maharashtra."
ANGELA RASMUSSEN, VIROLOGIST, THE CENTER FOR GLOBAL HEALTH SCIENCE AND SECURITY, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY, ON TWITTER:
"The situation in India is heartbreaking and awful, but it's the result of a complex mix of bad policy decisions, bad advice to justify those decisions, global and domestic politics, and a host of other complex variables."
KRUTIKA KUPPALLI, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, MEDICAL UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA:
"COVID-19 has become a public health crisis in India leading to a collapse of the healthcare system."
(Reporting by Rupam Nair, Neha Arora, Kumar Anuron Mitra and Swati Pandey; editing by Richard Pullin)