On Saturday, the health ministry said more than 141,986 cases were reported in the previous 24 hours, nearly a 21% increase from the previous day.
Health experts say increased social contact at packed election rallies is feeding the virus spread.
“The transmission chains that started at the beginning of the year due to these rallies will take months to burn out,” John, the virologist, said.
Over the past few weeks, Modi has addressed huge gatherings in several cities, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state which is ruled by his Bharatiya Janata Party. The party’s political opponents have also hit the campaign trail, flouting health guidelines.
Earlier this week, the Congress party organized a marathon in which thousands of people ran without masks and were packed so tightly that they collapsed onto each other. The chief minister of New Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, contracted the virus after he was seen maskless while leading political rallies in multiple states.
With health experts warning of a rapid growth in infections, and data suggesting they are spreading faster than during the peak of last year’s surge, several political parties have started a course correction.
The Congress party said it is stopping political rallies in Uttar Pradesh and switching to virtual campaigning. A few other parties, including Modi’s, have followed suit. It’s unclear, however, whether they will cancel all future rallies.
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