The Latest: Indian state revises death count up by 70%

NEW DELHI — The Indian state of Bihar has increased its COVID-19 death toll after the discovery of thousands of unreported cases, raising concerns that many more fatalities were not officially recorded.

The health department in Bihar, one of the poorest states, on Thursday revised its COVID-19 fatality count to more than 9,429 from 5,424 — a jump of more than 70%.

Officials said the 3,951 unreported fatalities had occurred in May and reflect “deaths reported at private hospitals, in transit to health facilities, under home isolation and those dying of post COVID-19 complications.”

Health experts say many COVID-19 fatalities remain unrecorded in India, more so during the latest surge in April and May, when hospitals ran unbearably full and oxygen supplies were low.

India’s federal ministers from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have dismissed reports of undercounting as exaggerated and misleading. In the past, states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have also recalibrated death numbers.

Overall, India’s cases and deaths have fallen steadily in the past weeks.

The 91,702 cases added in the past 24 hours pushed India’s total to more than 29.3 million on Friday, second only to the United States. The Health Ministry also reported 3,403 fatalities in the past 24 hours, raising the overall death toll to 363,079.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— Celebrations (and questions) greet US vaccine donation plan

— New federal COVID-19 safety rules exempt most employers

— US extends expiration dates for J&J COVID vaccine by 6 weeks

— British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has defended his handling of the coronavirus pandemic following a series of damaging allegations from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s former top adviser.

— Germany has started rolling out a digital vaccination pass that can be used across Europe as the continent gears up for the key summer travel season.

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— Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

CHICAGO — Illinois is lifting all capacity limits on bars, restaurants, businesses and other venues Friday, nearly 15 months after the first stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses still can have their own rules for capacity, masks and social distancing. Masks are still required on public transportation and in airports, schools and hospitals.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Thursday that “as we take this next step forward, let’s do so with a renewed commitment to empathy, to community, and to making each day together count.”

State health officials say more than 68% of Illinois residents who are 18 or older have received at least one dose of vaccine against the coronavirus, and 51% of adults are fully vaccinated.

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WASHINGTON — U.S. health officials are investigating what appear to be higher than expected reports of heart inflammation in male teens and young adults after they get a second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

It’s not clear if the inflammation is caused by the shots and the reports still are rare, the CDC says. It urges everyone 12 and older to get vaccinated.

A CDC official …read more

Source:: Headlines News4jax

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