India reported 41,383 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday as the country’s tally rose to 3,12,57,720 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. The number was 1.5% fewer than Wednesday’s count of 42,015 infections.

The toll rose to 4,18,987 as 507 patients died due to Covid-19 in the last 24 hours. The number of active cases went up by 2,224 to 4,09,394, while a total of 3,04,29,339 patients have recovered from the disease. Active cases had risen by more than 1,000 on Wednesday too.

(Source: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare)

Meanwhile, experts have criticised the central government’s claim that no Covid-19 patient in the country died due to lack of oxygen, The Hindu reported on Wednesday.

Speaking to the newspaper, public health expert and epidemiologist Chandrakant Lahariya said that technically lack of oxygen will never be attributed as an immediate cause of Covid death. “However, oxygen is necessary for treatment and the failure of the system to provide it has to be acknowledged,” he added. “The Centre’s bureaucratic response is contrary to the public experience and a more empathetic view was required. Not doing so means we run the risk of repeating mistakes.”

Malini Aisola, convener of The All India Drug Action Network, said the Centre’s claim was absurd and also shows its refusal to acknowledge the deaths that happened during the second wave.

Despite the criticism and political backlash on the Centre’s claim, at least five states on Wednesday, made similar assertions even as shortages of oxygen during the second wave of the pandemic captured global attention.

On the global front, public health officials in the United States said that life expectancy in the country fell by a year and a half in 2020, the largest one-year decline since the second World War, AP reported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that Covid-19 was responsible for 74% of the overall decline in life expectancy.

A study on Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine has showed that it produces fewer antibodies against the Delta and Lambda variants of the infection, The New York Times reported. The study, howver, has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal yet.

Globally, the coronavirus disease has infected more than 19.19 crore people and killed over 41.26 lakh in the world since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University.