India on Friday registered 1,072 fatalities due to Covid-19 recorded in the past 24 hours, taking the overall nationwide toll to 5,00,055. The country had recorded over 1,000 deaths on Thursday – 1,008 – as well, but the toll had included 335 backlog deaths that Kerala added to its tally of fatalities.

There were 1,49,394 new cases of the virus, taking the infection tally to 4,19,52,712 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The number of cases is 13.36% lower than Thursday’s count of 1,72,433 infections.

Currently, there are 14,35,569 active coronavirus cases in the country, and the number of active infections declined by 98,352 in the past day. Active cases presently account for 3.42% of the country’s total case load.

(Source: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare)

The daily positivity rate fell to 9.27% from Thursday’s figure of 10.99%.

In the past 24 hours, 55,58,760 Covid-19 vaccine doses were administered in the country, taking the total number of doses administered to 1,68,47,16,068 since the vaccination drive began on January 16, 2021. Of these, 59,44,501 were precaution doses administered to healthcare workers, frontline workers and senior citizens.

Over 10.71 crore coronavirus vaccines are available with states and union territories, the Union health ministry said on Friday.

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There is clear evidence that vaccines are protecting citizens against the coronavirus, VK Paul, the chief of the country Covid-19 task force said on Thursday at a press conference. He said that the vaccine “has been ensuring low prevalence of severe disease & protecting against mortality”.

Daily coronavirus cases have been reporting a consistent decline in the past 14 days, Lav Agarwal, the Joint Secretary in the Union health ministry said. “On January 21, there were about 3.47 lakh cases in the country, and the number has now halved to 1,72,433 on Thursday.”

The official added that the peak in cases during this wave (3,47254 cases) was lower than that of the previous wave (4,14,188).

In the past month, 65% of children between 15 and 18 years of age have been administered the coronavirus vaccine, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said. “Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, the world’s biggest vaccination drive is achieving new heights,” he said.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization’s Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said that the idea of attaining herd immunity as a way to fight against Covid-19 is a “foolish” one, and there will be massive costs to be paid, NDTV reported.

“Hybrid immunity is the strongest immunity we can have at the moment - Hybrid is when one has been infected with Omicron and has also got the vaccine doses,” she said.