India climbed past 20 million COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, becoming the second country after the US to reach the grim milestone.
The country passed the threshold as it added 357,000 new infections to its total cases in the past 24 hours.
The official count has nearly doubled in the past three months due to more contagious variants as well as the government allowing massive crowds to gather for Hindu religious festivals and political rallies before state elections.
The country’s virus-related deaths also rose by 3,449 on Tuesday, bringing the toll to more than 222,000, according to the health ministry.
Alarming as those numbers are, they are believed to be an undercount due to problems with the overwhelmed health care system.
People are dying due to shortages of oxygen and hospital beds or because they were unable to get a COVID-19 test.
Horrifying footage on Sunday showed a young woman trying to help her coronavirus-stricken father, Asiri Naidu, 44, after he collapsed outside his hut in Ganguvari Sigadam village.
In the video, she tries to feed him water from a clear plastic bottle, but he chokes on the liquid and spits it out.
Moments later, she cries out in agony as her father takes his last breath, video shows.
Experts have warned that there appears to be no end in sight for the health crisis.
The country is administering COVID-19 shots to about 2.1 million people daily, or around 0.15% of its population.
“This is not going to end very soon,” said Dr. Ravi Gupta, a virus expert at the University of Cambridge in England. “And really … the soul of the country is at risk in a way.”