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India health officials battle "black fungus" infections as COVID death toll tops 300,000

Health officials in India are scrambling to contain a potentially fatal fungal infection affecting people being treated for or who've recovered from COVID-19, as the official coronavirus death toll surpassed 300,000 on Monday.

Why it matters: Mucormycosis, the "black fungus" infection, is still quite rare, with some 9,000 cases as of Saturday, per NDTV. But Indian health services are overstretched treating COVID-19 patients amid sluggish vaccine deliveries, with oxygen and other supplies running out in many places, AP notes.

  • Mucormycosis has been declared an "epidemic" by health officials in four states, the Times of India reports.
  • The mucormycosis death toll has not been disclosed, but local media have reported that 250 people have lost their lives to the infection, according to AP.

The big picture: India's health ministry confirmed 4,454 more people had died from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 303,720 — the third-highest in the world after the U.S. and Brazil.

  • The ministry reported 222,315 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total to almost 27 million since the pandemic began.
  • Scientists and local health workers say the actual numbers are much higher.

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