Here are the top-10 developments on this front from the past 24 hours:
Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state with over 18.86 lakh cases and nearly 48,500 deaths till now. Other states in the top-five badly hit category are Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.
Delhi recorded 1,363 fresh COVID-19 cases on Thursday with over 90,000 tests conducted, the highest till date. The state's positivity rate slipped to 1.51 per cent, authorities said. This is the third consecutive day when the positivity rate has remained below 2 per cent. The death count mounted to 10,182 with 35 new fatalities, officials said.
A year into the pandemic, it is clear that the new coronavirus is worse than seasonal flu, and a study released on Friday outlines just how much worse: a death rate almost three times higher among COVID-19 patients. The research, published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, compared data for 89,530 Covid-19 and 45,819 seasonal influenza patients. Some 16.9 per cent of the former died during the study.
COVID-19 cases in India are steadily coming down while the caseload of infection in many parts of the world is experiencing a second or even a third peak, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday asserting that the government "recognised the threat early and pursued a scientific evidence-based approach".
The phase-1 trial of Covaxin vaccine may have received "encouraging" results, but its manufacturer, the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, is facing challenges in phase 3 trials. The drugmaker has witnessed up to 80% reduction in participation for phase 3 trials at AIIMS. The hospital needs up to 2,000 volunteers, but only 200 have enrolled so far.
The pandemic has fuelled a rise in fatal drug overdoses in the US. Over 81,000 such deaths were recorded in the country in the year up to May, the highest ever in a 12-month period, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A study by University of Washington Health Sciences claims COVID-19 can have cognitive effects on patients such as brain fog and fatigue. Researchers, through a mouse model, found that the spike protein, often depicted as the red arms of the virus, can cross the blood-brain barrier in mice.
Brazil on Thursday recorded more than 1,000 Covid-19 deaths over a 24-hour period for the first time since September. The 1,092 new fatalities took Brazil's total from the coronavirus pandemic to almost 1,85,000 - a number surpassed only by the US. The South American country also registered almost 70,000 new infections, for a total of more than 7.1 million cases.
The US FDA has said it was working with Pfizer to revise a fact sheet for recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine after two people had allergic reactions. The two people, both health workers, were vaccinated in Alaska and one of them had a serious or "anaphylactic" reaction resulting in hospitalisation.
French President Emmanuel Macron became the latest national leader to test positive for coronavirus on Thursday, forcing several other European politicians into quarantine as the continent becomes the first region to pass 500,000 deaths. Europe is battling a winter surge that has placed it at the heart of the global pandemic once again, the disease biting harder in many countries than it did during the first wave in March and April.