India climbed past 20 million COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, becoming the second country after the US to reach the grim milestone.
The country passed the threshold as it added 357,000 new infections to its total cases in the past 24 hours.
The official count has nearly doubled in the past three months due to more contagious variants as well as the government allowing massive crowds to gather for Hindu religious festivals and political rallies before state elections.
The country’s virus-related deaths also rose by 3,449 on Tuesday, bringing the toll to more than 222,000, according to the health ministry.
Alarming as those numbers are, they are believed to be an undercount due to problems with the overwhelmed health care system.
Coronavirus patients lie in beds while connected to oxygen supplies inside the emergency ward of a hospital in New Delhi, India.Rebecca Conway/Getty Images
People are dying due to shortages of oxygen and hospital beds or because they were unable to