India registered 18,732 fresh cases of COVID-19, the lowest in nearly six months, while 97,61,538 people have recuperated so far from the disease pushing the national recovery rate to 95.82 percent, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday.
The death toll climbed to 1,47,622 with the novel coronavirus virus claiming 279 lives in a span of 24 hours in the country, the data updated at 8 am showed.
A total of 18,732 daily new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours. The number of new daily cases last reported a dip on July 1 when 18,653 cases were registered.
The COVID-19 case fatality rate was registered at 1.44 percent.
There are 2,78,690 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 2.73 percent of the total caseload, the data stated.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 16,81,02,657 samples have been tested up to December 26 with 9,43,368 samples being tested on Saturday.
India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23 and 40 lakh on September 5. It went past 50 lakh on September 16, 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11 and crossed 80 lakh on October 29 and 90 lakh on November 20.
The 279 new fatalities include 60 from Maharashtra, 23 from Delhi, 33 from West Bengal, 21 from Kerala, 14 from Uttar Pradesh, 13 from Uttarakhand and 12 each from Punjab and Chhattisgarh.
A total of 147622 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 49189 from Maharashtra followed by 12051 from Karnataka, 12059 from Tamil Nadu, 10437 from Delhi, 9569 from West Bengal, 8293 from Uttar Pradesh, 7092 from Andhra Pradesh, 5281 from Punjab and 4275 from Gujarat.
The health ministry stressed that more than 70 percent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.
"Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research," the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.