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India faces increasing difficulty disposing of COVID dead

India faces increasing difficulty disposing of COVID dead, The spread of the coronavirus appears to be slowing in India. Cases have fallen for the...

Monday, May 17, 2021

/ by Avishek Bera


 The News Cover:  The spread of the coronavirus appears to be slowing in India. Cases have fallen for the third day in a row - raising hopes that the worst could soon be over. But deaths from COVID-19 are still RISING. More than 4,000 people have again died within a day. Bodies strewn along the river bank. 

Victims of India's coronavirus catastrophe. "The Ganges meanders through our village and the water flows very slowly here. So the bloated corpses get caught on the river bank. It's turned the whole area into a pile of bodies." As desperation takes hold in the scramble for covid-19 vaccines and treatment, India's second wave is also affecting the disposal of the dead. State officials believe some families are unable to afford the costs of cremation, as demand skyrockets. 

According to official numbers, India has suffered nearly 4000 deaths per day for over a week. But the true death toll may be even higher. "Wherever they can, people are taking advantage of other peoples' misery. I saw it at a cremation site where they were charging exorbitant fees. Relatives are helpless as they have no other choice. 

They have to pay whatever is demanded, no matter how unreasonable." There are small signs of improvement. The rapid spread of the virus seems to be slowing - sparking hope that social distancing measures may be starting to have an effect. More vaccines are also on their way. A second batch of Russia's Sputnik Vee landed on Sunday. But getting enough vaccine to protect India's 1.3 billion population will take time. For now, Indians are left picking up the pieces of the devastation left behind.

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