(Added Maharashtra state case numbers and expert commentary)
NEW DELHI, Sept. 12 (Reuters) – India reported a record daily rise in coronavirus cases for a second day in a row, registering 97,570 new infections on Saturday, data from the Federal Ministry of Health showed.
With a total of more than 4.65 million cases, India is the second most affected country in the world, behind the United States, which has more than 6.4 million cases.
But the growth of infections in India is faster than anywhere else in the world, as cases pour into urban and rural areas.
The western state of Maharashtra was particularly hard hit, with a total of confirmed cases surpassing the one million mark by late Friday, making it the first state or province in the world to cross that mark.
If the state, which is India’s richest, were a country, it would rival Russia for the fourth highest number of coronavirus cases in the world. Officials and experts said the steady rise in cases in Maharashtra and other parts of the country was likely the result of restarting economic activity, local festivals and fatigue from the lockdown.
“I am so disappointed with the pandemic situation in India,” Bhramar Mukherjee, professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan, who is closely monitoring the COVID situation in India said on Twitter.
“It gets worse and worse every week, but much of the country seems to have chosen to ignore this crisis,” she said.