When millions of Indians switched off lights and lit candles and earthen lamps in the early days of the pandemic in solidarity with COVID warriors, many probably though the fight will be over soon, but a year on, the situation has become grimmer. On April 10 last year, five days after millions responded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to show the nation’s “collective resolve and solidarity” in the fight against the coronavirus, the number of confirmed infections stood at 6,761, while the death toll was 206. Cut to the present, India registered a record 1,45,384 fresh COVID-19 cases on Saturday, pushing its infection tally to 1,32,05,926, while the death toll stood at 1,68,436. Delhi alone recorded over 8,500 new cases on Friday, while Maharashtra reported more than 58,000. As per the health ministry, 10 states — Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan — are showing a steep rise in daily COVID-19 cases at present. They accounted for 82.82 per cent of the new infections on Saturday, it said. The number of active cases has breached the 10-lakh mark again after around six-and-a-half months, and the country recorded 794 more fatalities in a day, the highest since October 18 last year. India crossed the grim milestone of one crore COVID-19 cases on December 19 last year. The spread of the virus slowed down briefly and there was an improvement in the situation in January 2021. The country’s lowest daily spike of just 8,635 infections was reported on February 2. But the ebbing did not last long, and the infections began surging again in March 2021. A large number of healthcare workers have contracted the virus too, including those who have taken both doses of the vaccine. Over 9.78 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the country so far to healthcare and frontline workers, and people above 45. India is racing against time to contain the second wave of the coronavirus by again imposing restrictions like night curfews and vaccinating over 20 lakh people daily. Making matters worse, several more infectious variants of the coronavirus have surfaced, and many experts believe might be behind the surge of cases in the country. Three variants of concern have been identified – the UK variant, Brazil variant and the South African variant. India has also detected a new “double mutant” COVID-19 variant in states like Maharashtra and Delhi, where a surge of cases is being recorded.