Officials said on Monday that dozens of dead bodies suspected to be Covid-19 victims had washed up on the shores of the Ganges river in northern India.
The pandemic is rapidly expanding through India’s huge rural hinterland, causing local health services, as well as crematoriums and cemeteries, to become overwhelmed.
Around 40 bodies washed up in Buxar city, along the boundary between Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, two of India’s poorest states, according to local official Ashok Kumar.
According to some sources, the number of bodies may be as large as 100.
Other officials were cited in the media as stating that several of them were swollen and partly burnt, and that they may have been in the water for days.
Locals told the dozens of bodies were discarded in the river because cremation facilities were overburdened or families couldn’t afford wood for funeral pyres.
According to official figures, almost 4,000 citizens die from coronavirus every day in India, with a total death toll of nearly 250,000.
Many researchers suggest the real daily figure may be several times greater, based on empirical reports from crematoriums.
This is especially true now that the current epidemic has expanded outside major cities into rural communities, where facilities are scarce and record-keeping is inadequate.