The Indian government has been accused of releasing false numbers and information about the growing COVID-19 death rate as the country struggles to combat the crisis

By Benjamin VanHoose
April 28, 2021 10:38 AM
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The COVID-19 death toll in India has surpassed 200,000 as the country experiences a public health crisis due to recent surges in new cases.

As of Wednesday morning, India's Ministry of Health reports 201,187 deaths in the country. Additionally, the Associated Press reported that India — which is the second-most populated country in the world — continues to set daily records of new COVID infections, most recently with 362,757 new cases in the past 24 hours.

In the United States, the death toll topped 200,000 back in September. Per data compiled by The New York Times, as of Wednesday morning, there have been a total of 573,001 people who died due to COVID in America. Brazil and Mexico have also surpassed the 200,000 mark.

Globally, 3,129,700 deaths have been recorded, according to the Times.

Citizens in India are holding the government accountable for reopening the country prematurely, following a dramatic decline in case numbers during the winter. Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared "victory" over COVID in January. The government has since been accused of releasing false numbers and information about the growing death rate.

Experts say the actual number of COVID cases could be 30 times higher than what's been reported, according to CNN.

India Covid crisis
Health workers and relatives wearing personal protection equipment move the body of a COVID-19 fatality at a mortuary in New Delhi, India, on April 21, 2021.
| Credit: Amarjeet Kumar Singh/Anadolu Agency via Getty

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Hospitals, graveyards and crematoriums have become overwhelmed with new cases and deaths in heavily populated areas of India. As life-saving oxygen is in short supply, some patients have died in the streets while searching for a hospital. Meanwhile, crematoriums have had to increase their funeral pyres. In the city of Bhopal, some have had to increase their capacity from 12 pyres to 50, according to the Washington Post.

President Joe Biden announced Sunday that the U.S. will join several European countries in sending aid to India. The U.S. will provide financial assistance and raw materials for vaccines.

"Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need," Biden wrote Sunday on Twitter.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.