Sushmita Pathak | WGLT

Sushmita Pathak

India's recorded coronavirus case total has surpassed that of Brazil, making India the second worst-affected country in the world after the United States.

India overtook Brazil on Monday after registering 90,802 fresh cases — the highest single-day increase any country has recorded so far during the pandemic. India's total cases are now more than 4.2 million.

V Unbeatable is a Mumbai-based acrobatic dance troupe whose members range in age from 12 to 28 and come from the city's slums. NPR wrote about them after they won America's Got Talent: The Champions this February. They'd hoped the win would help improve the financial situation of their families and open doors to new opportunities.

A picky 25-year-old from Mumbai whose unwillingness to marry raises his mom's blood pressure. A headstrong 34-year-old lawyer from Houston who says she doesn't want to settle for just anybody. A cheerful 32-year-old Guyanese-American dancer with Indian roots who simply wants to find a good person to be her husband.

India's confirmed coronavirus infections have surpassed one million cases. The country crossed that threshold on Friday after registering nearly 35,000 new cases — its biggest spike so far in a 24-hour period.

Heavy rains lashing India's northeastern state of Assam have triggered severe flooding and landslides, killing at least 80 people. More than a million people have been moved to relief centers. Thousands of villages are underwater as authorities try to rescue people — and animals. Large swaths of a national park, home to a number of rare species, are submerged.

When India imposed coronavirus restrictions in late March, Arman Rathod's work dried up.

The 29-year-old had made a living washing cars and painting statues of Hindu gods in his hometown of Valsad, in western India. Broke and bored under lockdown, Rathod and his friends started recording videos of themselves in April on the social media app TikTok.

The narrow lanes inside the slum in east Mumbai where Swati Patil lives flood every year during the monsoon season of July and August.

"Even if it rains for half an hour, we have waterlogging," says Patil, 46.

Homes remain inundated for days and many people pile all their belongings on beds floating in the water, she says. Mosquito-borne diseases like malaria dengue as well as water-borne diseases like typhoid and leptospirosis are common. But these aren't the only obstacles.

This monsoon season, Patil and her neighbors have one more thing to fear: the coronavirus.

Indians can now dine out, shop in malls and pray at religious sites for the first time in nearly 2 1/2 months. But masks or face coverings are mandatory and visitors will be thermally screened at entrances.

This story was updated on July 6 at 1:07 p.m.

When her father got hurt, a 15-year-old Indian girl used their last $20 to buy a rickety, hot pink bicycle, and pedaled him more than 700 miles to their home village across India — in a heroic, life-saving ride while under coronavirus lockdown.

The story of Jyoti Kumari's epic bike ride has made her a media celebrity, prompted praise from Ivanka Trump and won her offers to try out for India's Olympic team and star as herself in a Bollywood movie.

With India under a nationwide lockdown and religious gatherings banned, Islamic clerics are urging Muslims to observe this weekend's Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of Ramadan, at home with social distancing.

When liquor stores reopened across India on Monday for the first time in nearly six weeks, little circles painted on the pavement were supposed to help customers maintain a safe distance. But Indians paid them little heed.

Rows upon rows of colorful kebabs. Vendors piping yellow batter into giant woks of boiling oil. An endless sea of people. Every year during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Mohammed Ali Road in Mumbai transforms into a food carnival attracting tourists and faithful alike.

But not this year.

Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan — a descendant of northern Indian royals, who acted in soap operas before starring in dozens of Hindi-language films and crossover hits like Slumdog Millionaire — has died in Mumbai at age 54. His spokesman, Ahmed Khan (no relation), confirmed the death to NPR.

The actor died Wednesday at a hospital in Mumbai, after being admitted for a colon infection. He had also undergone treatment for a rare type of neuroendocrine cancer.

All his life, 56-year-old Pratap Singh Bora has been sticking his thumb in ink to sign documents. He didn't go to school when he was a kid. Little did he know that he would learn to write his first words at a coronavirus lockdown center during a global pandemic.

On the first day of India's coronavirus lockdown a month ago, Amar Sankrit realized he couldn't get to work.

Sankrit, 21, normally rides a bus two hours each way to a call center outside New Delhi where he has worked for the past year. His company handles customer service queries for U.S. and U.K. telecom companies.

But on March 25, all public transit was halted. He didn't own a laptop, so he couldn't work from home. He worried about losing pay. On a salary of about $3,000 a year, Sankrit helps support his mother.

The world's biggest coronavirus lockdown has been extended for 19 more days.

India's 1.3 billion residents have been under lockdown for the past three weeks. Restrictions were set to expire at midnight Tuesday (2:30 p.m. ET). But in a televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that Indians will have to stay home through May 3.

In India, the coronavirus cloud has a silver lining: clear blue skies.

India entered the world's biggest lockdown last month and the government ordered 1.3 billion people to stay home as the number of coronavirus cases climbed.

The audio for this story will be added when the story airs.

Acrobatic dancers from Mumbai's slums performed to a Bollywood song and wowed the audience. Fame may help them out of poverty. NPR's India producer visited some of their homes.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Under lockdown, well-off Indians isolate indoors, work from home and get groceries delivered.

But outside their windows, it's a different story: Poor laborers amass in the streets, hungry and homeless.

In a video posted on Twitter, a woman calls down to a crowd of people gathering below her window. They yell back up to her, desperate: "There are 400 of us here without food. We need help. There are lots of children."

With a fraction of the hospital beds and ventilators per capita of developed countries, Indian doctors and public health experts warn an explosion of coronavirus cases could overwhelm their hospitals on a greater scale than what's happening in Italy and the United States — and lead to many millions of deaths.

Not enough toilets – and the ones there are often dirty. Beds crammed together. The only way to shower is with water from a bucket that everyone has to share. No soap or hand sanitizer.

A fresh wave of protests spread across India's biggest cities Monday, hours after masked assailants invaded dormitories on an elite university campus in the capital New Delhi and beat up students and faculty.

At the edge of a tree-lined lane in Mumbai, India, Abdul Kareem opens the hood of his taxi and pours water into the radiator. The car is black with a yellow roof, like all Mumbai cabs. But it stands out in a line of cars.

It's antique-looking and kind of boxy, with bulbous headlights. It has a metal luggage rack on its roof that proclaims "Mumbai" in bright orange lettering. On the streets, Kareem says, people point out the taxi to their kids.

On Nov. 27, a veterinarian in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad called her family to say she'd gotten a flat tire on the side of the road. A truck driver was helping her, and she'd be home soon, she told her sister.

A few days later, police found her charred remains in a wooded area. Authorities believe four men deflated her tire, posed as good Samaritans to trick her, then gang-raped and murdered her. Police said they have DNA evidence connecting them to the crime.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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