The Latest: India’s new virus totals still on downward trend

India has registered a single-day spike of 74,442 new coronavirus cases, driving the country’s overall tally since the pandemic began to 6.6 million

NEW DELHI — India has registered a single-day spike of 74,442 new coronavirus cases, driving the country’s overall tally since the pandemic began to 6.6 million.

The Health Ministry on Monday also reported another 903 virus deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 102,685.

India has reported the second most infections globally after the United States, but its daily new infections are now on a downward trend, though still the highest in the world. The number of active virus cases in the country has also remained below 1 million for the past two weeks.

The country’s recovery rate stands at 84%, the highest in the world, with more than 5.5 million people recovered from coronavirus so far, according to the Health Ministry.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Trump takes a brief car ride outside hospital, ignoring own COVID infection

— Biden campaign says Democratic presidential nominee tested negative for virus

— Asian shares rise as investors are optimistic about Trump’s recovery from virus

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Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

MANILA, Philippines — Grade and high school students in the Philippines have started classes at home after the pandemic forced remote-learning onto an educational system already struggling to fund schools.

The shift to distance-learning that began Monday has been a logistical nightmare for the poverty-stricken Southeast Asian country that has long lacked enough classrooms, teachers and educational equipment. Nearly 25 million students enrolled this year in mostly 47,000 public schools nationwide that would have to be replicated in homes and enlist the help of parents and guardians as co-teachers.

A majority of families, especially from poor and rural communities, opted to use government-provided digital or printed learning materials, which students would read at home with the guidance of their elders before carrying out specified activities. Most lacked computers and reliable internet connections. Teachers could answer questions by telephone.

The rest of the families preferred for their children to get lessons online or through regional radio and TV educational broadcasts.

President Rodrigo Duterte has said school classes should resume only when a COVID-19 vaccine has been made available.

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 73 new cases of the coronavirus, its fifth straight day of below 100. Nevertheless, officials are concerned about the threat from increased travel during a five-day holiday that ended Sunday.

The figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Monday brought the national caseload to 24,164, including 422 deaths.

Fifty-one of the new cases were reported from the greater capital area. The newest cluster of infections in the region is an army unit in Pocheon, north of Seoul, where more than

India’s coronavirus death toll passes 100,000 with no sign of an end

By Anuron Kumar Mitra and Devjyot Ghoshal

BENGALURU/NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s death toll from the novel coronavirus rose past 100,000 on Saturday, only the third country in the world to reach that bleak milestone, after the United States and Brazil, and its epidemic shows no sign of abating.

Total deaths rose to 100,842, the health ministry said, while the tally of infections climbed to 6.47 million after a daily increase in cases of 79,476. India now has the highest rate of daily increase in infections in the world.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, faced with a collapsing economy after imposing a tough lockdown to try to stem the spread of the virus in late March, is pushing ahead with a full opening of the country.

Cinemas were allowed to re-open at half capacity this week and authorities can decide to re-open schools from the middle of this month.

Heading into winter and the holiday season, including the Hindu festival of Diwali next month, the world’s second most populous country could see a jump in cases, health experts said.

“We have seen some recent slowdown of the virus curve but this may be a local peak, there may be another coming,” said Bhramar Mukherjee, a professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan.

She said data showed a little over 7% of the population of 1.3 billion had been exposed to the virus, meaning India was still far from any sort of herd immunity.

The number of cases could rise to 12.2 million by the end of the year but the rate of spread would depend on how effective measures such as social distancing were, she said.

“So it will continue like a slow burning coil, that is my hope, and we have to play the long game to stop it from being a wildfire.”

GRAPHIC: Covid-19 cases vs recoveries: India, Brazil and U.S. – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/buzz/nmopawomnpa/GRFX%201.png

DATA QUESTIONED

The United States, Brazil and India together account for nearly 45% of all COVID-19 deaths globally.

Death rates in India, however, have been significantly lower than in those other two countries, raising questions about the accuracy of its data.

India has, on average, less than one death from the disease for every 10,000 people while the United States and Brazil have seen six deaths per 10,000.

U.S. President Donald Trump, defending his administration’s handling of the pandemic in this week’s presidential debate, said countries such as India were under-reporting deaths.

Shashank Tripathi, of the Centre for Infectious Disease Research at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru, acknowledged there could be problems with the data though India’s young population might help explain the lower death rate.

“In India, even without a pandemic, all deaths are not properly registered,” Tripathi said.

“I’m not very confident that the mortality rates reflect the right numbers, though the younger demographic has given us some advantage.”

Representatives of the health ministry and the Indian Council of Medical Research did not immediately respond to