Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi allowed millions to attend the monthlong Kumbh Mela religious festival even as COVID surged out of control in his country. But two days after a top seer who was at the event died of the virus, the PM is now saying it should be purely “symbolic.” Kumbh Mela happens every 12 years near one of four riverbank pilgrimage sites, where millions gather to sing, dance, and hug each other after bathing away their past sins in the Ganges. More than 50 million went this year after Modi declined to cancel it out of fear it would hurt his chances of being reelected. India has just reported its highest-ever daily COVID count: 234,000 new cases.
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