NEW DELHI—Ground zero of the world’s Covid-19 outbreak shifted to India Monday as it recorded more than 100,000 fresh cases for the first time, topping the daily totals everywhere else in the world.
The South Asian nation is locking down neighborhoods and restricting travel again even as it tries to ratchet up its vaccination drive to save lives and salvage its nascent economic recovery.
With the number of new infections in the U.S. and Brazil retreating from recent highs, India now has the most new cases in the world. The financial center of Mumbai and the surrounding state of Maharashtra are ground zero once again, dashing hopes that India’s megacities may have seen the worst as the most densely populated neighborhoods reached some sort of herd immunity.
“It’s spreading very fast, much more than the first phase,” said Deepak Baid, a physician in charge of a Covid-19 unit in a government hospital in Mumbai. “It’s spreading to all the age groups.”
As daily infections tumbled from just under 100,000 in September to fewer than 15,000 in February, Indians started going out more and being less vigilant about the standard Covid-fighting measures such as wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding unnecessary trips and gatherings.