India has reported its highest daily Covid-19 death toll in a month after the country’s wealthiest state of Maharashtra corrected its data, adding some 3,509 previously unreported fatalities.

India’s coronavirus death toll jumped sharply on Wednesday, with the country’s health ministry reporting 3,998 fatalities. The vast majority of Covid-19 deaths came from the state of Maharashtra, home to the financial capital Mumbai, which, having revised its figures, uncovering 3,509 previously unreported fatalities.

No official explanation has been provided for the sharp increase, but the authorities previously blamed similar fluctuations in Covid-19 figures on administrative errors. In early June, for instance, India reported the world’s highest single-day death toll from Covid-19, registering more than 6,000 deaths. The vast number of these back then – some 4,000 – came from the eastern state of Bihar, one of the poorest in India, which sharply revised its figures.

India’s official coronavirus tally currently stands at the 31.2-million mark, with nearly 420,000 deaths. The nation’s tally is surpassed only by the US, which has recorded over 34 million cases and more than 609,000 deaths.

Independent researchers have repeatedly questioned India’s official Covid-19 data, however, suggesting its tally might actually be several times higher. According to new research by the US-based think tank the Center for Global Development (CGD), the situation on the ground is “catastrophically worse” than reported by the authorities, given the sharp rise in excess deaths during the pandemic.

“What is tragically clear is that too many people – in the millions rather than the hundreds of thousands – may have died,” the research said.

The CGD estimated that there had been between 3.4 million and 4.9 million excess deaths in India during the global Covid-19 outbreak. The researchers did not ascribe all those to the coronavirus, however.

In April and May, India was hit by a massive second wave of the pandemic, with cases surpassing the 350,000 mark every day. The influx of patients overwhelmed the nation’s healthcare system, with numerous hospitals running out of the oxygen needed to treat critical cases and even the space to accommodate patients. While the situation has improved since then, the country is still reporting tens of thousands of new infections daily. On Wednesday, the government said it had registered 42,015 new cases in the previous 24 hours.

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