A man walks past burning funeral pyres of people, who died due to COVID-19, at a crematorium ground in New Delhi on April 22, 2021. (Image: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui)
India on May 23 became the world's third country to cross three lakh deaths due to COVID-19. The two other countries which have crossed the toll are the United States and Brazil.
While the official update would be shared by the Health Ministry on May 24, the real-time Worldometers tracker has pushed the country's death count to 3,02,744.
By the time this report was published, the tracker claimed that India has recorded 3,448 more fatalities after the release of the last official update.
The country's cumulative death toll was below 2 lakh before the onset of the second wave of the pandemic. Since April, the per-day fatality numbers have sharply surged, with over 4,000 daily deaths being reported for several days on a stretch.
A bulk of the COVID-19 deaths in India, as per the official tally, has been registered in Maharashtra. The state accounts for 88,620 out of the total fatalities, followed by Karnataka which has reported 25,282 deaths.
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The United States, which has suffered the highest number of fatalities due to coronavirus, has to date recorded 6,03,896 - nearly twice of India's death count.
The toll in Brazil has climbed to 4,48,291, according to Worldometers. Mexico and the UK are fourth and fifth on the list, with 2,21,597 and 1,27,716 cumulative fatalities, respectively.
Across the world, around 3.4 million lives have been lost so far due to the pandemic. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), however, the official numbers are a "significant undercount", and predicts the actual fatality count to range between 6 to 8 million.
"This number would truly be two to three times higher. So I think safely about 6 to 8 million deaths could be an estimate on a cautionary note," Samira Asma, WHO's Assistant Director-General, said on May 21.