Japan sees record-high daily death counts of COVID-19

Japan's health authorities are reporting record-high deaths from the coronavirus, with over 400 people succumbing each day. Sunday's count was down slightly from the figure for recent days. But experts warn the situation could get worse in the coming weeks.

Health officials across the country confirmed 407 fatalities linked to the virus on Sunday. The central prefecture of Aichi had the most of Japan's 47 prefectures, at 44. In Tokyo, 30 people died. Most of the victims were over 70.

A home nursing care provider in Tokyo said vulnerable people need extra help. The provider said, "The patient's condition worsened in a short period of time. Those with underlying conditions face greater risks." He said the number of infections has also been surging in retirement homes.

He also said that among about 110 institutions he sends nurses to, nearly half have had a recent outbreak. That's five times the number during last summer's peak.

An expert at Tokyo Medical University Hospital said the authorities don't really have an accurate picture of the total.

Hamada Atsuo, a professor at the hospital, said, "The daily infection counts have not officially exceeded the numbers of the last wave during the summer. But it's likely the real numbers are much higher than the previous peaks. I think that's why we are seeing a record number of deaths."

Hamada is calling on people across the country to take greater care to avoid overwhelming the medical system.