India's Seven-Day COVID Case Average Reaches 350,000, Deaths Triple in Last 21 Days

India set a global record for new COVID-19 cases Thursday with an average of 350,000 cases in the past seven days, while deaths per day have tripled in the last 21 days, the Associated Press reported.

With 379,257 new cases, India's healthcare system is struggling amid the virus surge that has been caused by new variants. Many countries have pledged to send help.

"There's been an outpouring of, let's say, assistance from various countries," Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters on Thursday.

Shringla said over 40 countries have declared they will provide assistance to India while it deals with 3 million active cases.

On Wednesday, the White House said it will deliver more than $100 million worth of supplies to India.

"Just as India sent assistance to the United States when our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need," the White House said in a statement.

The U.S. will provide an initial delivery of 1,100 oxygen cylinders, 15 million N95 masks and 1 million rapid diagnostic tests.

Shringla said that France, Germany, Ireland and Austria have pledged to assist India. Meanwhile, Russia has sent over oxygen equipment via two aircrafts, according to AP.

India has recorded a total of 18.3 million COVID-19 cases to date.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

COVID-19 Patient in New Dehli, India
India set a global record for new COVID-19 cases Thursday with an average of 350,000 cases in the past seven days, while deaths per day have tripled in the last 21 days. Above, a COVID patient is shifted to a ward after being admitted at the GTB hospital in New Delhi on April 29, 2021. Prakash Singh/AFP via Getty Images

On Thursday, millions of people in one state in India cast votes despite rising infections and the country geared up to open its vaccination rollout to all adults amid snags.

India's reported total cases are second only to the United States. The Health Ministry also reported 3,645 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 204,832. Experts believe both figures are an undercount, but it's unclear by how much.

A country of nearly 1.4 billion people, India had thought the worst was over when cases ebbed in September. But mass public gatherings such as political rallies and religious events that were allowed to continue, and relaxed attitudes on the risks fed by leaders touting victory over the virus led to what now has become a major humanitarian crisis, health experts say. New variants of the coronavirus have partly led the surge.

Amid the crisis, voting for the eighth and final phase of the West Bengal state elections began Thursday, even as the devastating surge of infections continued to barrel across the country with ferocious speed, filling crematoriums and graveyards.

More than 8 million people are eligible to vote in at least 11,860 polling stations across the state. The Election Commission has said social distancing measures will be in place.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party have faced criticism over the last few weeks for holding huge election rallies in the state, which health experts suggest may have driven the surge there. Other political parties also participated in rallies.

The state recorded more than 17,000 cases in the last 24 hours—its highest number since the pandemic began.

Starting Wednesday, all Indians 18 and older are allowed to register on a government app for vaccinations, but social media were flooded with complaints the app had crashed due to high use, and once it was working again, no appointments were available.

The vaccinations are supposed to start Saturday, but India, one of the world's biggest producers of vaccines, does not have enough doses for everyone. Even the ongoing effort to inoculate people above 45 is stuttering.

One state, Maharashtra, has already said it won't be able to start on Saturday.

Satyender Jain, health minister in the capital, New Delhi, told the Press Trust of India news agency on Thursday that the city doesn't have enough doses to vaccinate people between 18 and 44.

Since January, nearly 10% of Indians have received one dose, but only around 1.5% have received both required doses.

Shringla told reporters that the country is facing an "unprecedented" surge that has pushed the health system close to collapse, causing acute shortages of oxygen and other hospital supplies.

Resources from the U.S. will begin arriving Thursday, just days after President Joe Biden promised to step up assistance. The U.S. and Britain have already sent a shipment of medical items.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has advised its citizens to leave India. An alert on the U.S. Embassy's website warned that "access to all types of medical care is becoming severely limited in India due to the surge in COVID-19 cases."

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COVID-19 Test in India
India set a global record for new COVID-19 cases Thursday with an average of 350,000 cases in the past seven days, while deaths per day have tripled in the last 21 days. Above, a health worker takes a mouth swab sample of a boy to test for COVID-19 in Hyderabad on April 29, 2021. Mahesh Kumar A./AP Photo