A total of 89,030 new cases of the coronavirus disease were reported across India on Friday, the highest single-day increase in infections in the country since September 19, 2020, as the second wave of the viral outbreak continued to spread its footprint across the country at an alarming rate.

The seven-day average of daily cases across the country, a figure which denotes a region’s case trajectory, soared to 68,969 on Friday, the highest since October 13 last year.

Friday’s new cases takes the total number of confirmed infections in the country to 12,391,140.

The second wave of the outbreak is dangerously expanding its footprint throughout the country at a time when the vaccination drive has finally started gathering momentum – on Thursday, India had opened its Covid-19 vaccination programme to everyone over the age of 45 years.

Experts have repeatedly stressed that a widespread inoculation drive is the best, and perhaps, the only chance the country has to turn the tide against the building second wave of infections.

A total of 70,618,026 doses have been administered across the country as of Friday night, according to data released by the Union health ministry.

Friday’s national case tally is particularly noteworthy because the last time India reported more cases in a single day was on September 19, 2020, which was just three days after the country’s first wave peaked (on September 16).

India’s highest single-day caseload was 99,181 on September 10, according to the HT dashboard.

Just one state, Maharashtra, alone accounted for 54% of all infections reported on Friday. The western state, which is the country’s worst-hit region with 2.9 million confirmed cases, recorded 47,827 new Covid-19 cases, the highest daily count since the start of the pandemic in March last year. This is the second day in a row that the state has set a new record for daily infections.

On the second spot, Karnataka reported 4,991 new infections, while Chhattisgarh saw 4,174 new cases on Friday.

As many as 713 new Covid deaths were reported across the country on Friday, however, this number was inflated due to Maharashtra adding 279 old fatalities to its tally that had earlier been unreported.

A total of 164,162 people have lost their lives to the viral outbreak in the country so far.

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