India’s deadly second wave of Covid-19 has destroyed major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow and Puna. Hospitals and crematoria have exhausted their space, and burials take place in parking lots. But the epidemic is now gripping much smaller towns, cities, and villages where devastation is largely unreported.
On Tuesday, Rajesh Soni spent eight hours transporting his father from one hospital to another in Tuk-Tuk, Kota district in northern Rajasthan. He could not get an ambulance, the rough car was his only option. At 5:17 a.m., he decided to end his search for a hospital bed as his father’s condition worsened. After that he “left everything to fate” and came home.
“I give her medicine at home, but I’m not sure she will survive. “We have to die on the streets,” Rajesh said. He says that several private hospitals even “tied” him up, took money for tests, but then told him to take his father because there were no beds.
“I am not a rich man. I spent everything I had to pay the driver և to the hospitals. “Now I’ll take some money to get an oxygen cylinder at home.”
Such stories have become commonplace in Delhi, India’s worst-hit city, but now similar reports are coming from small towns and cities across the country.
The BBC is watching what is happening in five different states to see how fast the virus is spreading there.
More than 6,000 cases have been reported in the city and surrounding area over the past week, with 264 deaths since the epidemic began, but 35% of them occurred in April alone.
Until April 7, the number of cases doubled in 72 days, but now it is 27 days.
All oxygen beds were occupied, and only two of the district’s 329 ICUs were free on April 27. A senior journalist in the city told the BBC that the hospitals were overcrowded, adding that “this suggests that the real numbers are much higher”.
There is an acute shortage of oxygen յութ drugs such as remedizivir և tocilizumab. There are many coaching centers in the district, where students pass through the country, passing exams at prestigious medical and engineering colleges.
But the students have left, the region is now in turmoil, mostly away from the radars of national and international media. The journalist noted that the city’s hospitals were not ready for what he described as a tsunami. He said there was an urgent need to add “more oxygen և ICU beds before many people could die on the streets”.
Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh
The city, also known as Prayagraj, had 54,339 cases as of April 20, but has since grown by 21%, adding 11,318 cases over the past week.
About 32% of the 614 deaths in the city occurred in April alone. There are no official figures for health facilities in the city, but several people who spoke to the BBC said they could not find a bed for their loved ones.
Several calls and written questions to the city’s chief physician about the lack of beds went unanswered. One of the city’s senior journalists said that the real victims were many more, as the burial sites were open day and night.
State Secretary Yogi Adityanat recently said that there is no shortage of medicine, hospital beds or oxygen, but experts say the reality on the ground is very different.
Social media is flooded with posts from people in the state asking for beds, oxygen, and drugs like remdesivir. The chief minister also warned that action would be taken against any private hospital that “falsely reports” a lack of oxygen.
A staff member at a small private hospital told the BBC that it was difficult to get oxygen, but he did not complain as he feared retaliation.
“But I do not understand why any hospital falsely reports a shortage. “It makes no sense,” he said.
There have been reports of oxygen shortage deaths in the state. Several other districts and villages in Uttar Pradesh also reported that hospitals lacked beds.
Ashish Yadav’s father is in critical condition in Kanpur district, but he is unable to get him to bed, he does not even have access to a doctor.
“I begged, I begged everywhere, but no one helped. “No one collects the advertised helpline number,” he told the BBC.
There were no active cases of Covid-19 on March 1 in central India. But in the last seven days, it has increased by almost 3,000 cases.
Kabirdham Regional Hospital has seven air conditioners, but no doctors are trained to operate life support vehicles. According to the government, the district hospital should have 49 specialists, but only seven. There is also a severe shortage of nurses and laboratory assistants.
Local journalists say the district is unable to deal with the real sick patients because it is not going to manage the sharp rise in cases. Several people died without proper treatment in the area.
Bhagalpur և Aurangabad
The Bhagalpur district of the eastern Bihar province was also severely affected. It has seen a 26% increase in its workload since April 20, while the number of deaths has increased by 33% over the same period.
Only Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC) has ICU beds in the area բոլոր all 36 of its units were captured on 28 April. More than 270 of the 350 oxygen beds in the hospital were occupied.
A senior hospital official told the BBC that 40 of his 220 doctors had tested positive in the past 10 days, with four dying. This increased the pressure on the hospital.
The Aurangabad district in the western part of the state was severely affected. It has registered more than 5,000 cases since April 5, according to official figures, killing six people during the same period. But senior state journalists say the numbers are higher because testing is a big problem in small towns. Many become critics and die without ever being able to research Covid-19. Such deaths are not included in the official data.
Sumitra Devi was competing for a test in Aurangabad. He was unable to perform an RT-PCR test for days as his condition continued to deteriorate. Hospitals refused to admit him without a positive test result.
So his family took him to a small private hospital in the neighborhood, where he tested positive, but the hospital said he was critical and could not be treated. The family then took him to a large hospital in the state capital, Patna, where he was forced to wait several hours before being admitted.
He died two hours after finding the bed.
Nainital, Utarakhand Province
The tourist region in the Himalayas is finding it difficult to cope with the growing number of cases. As of April 27, at least 131 of its 142 ICU beds were occupied, and only 10 of the 771 oxygen beds were free.
More than 4,000 deaths and 82 deaths have been reported in the past week. The district, in particular, finds it difficult to cope with the rise as it receives patients from remote towns and villages where health facilities are insignificant.
The local doctor, who did not want to be named, said that “the situation was serious, he was terrified.”
“We are in this situation because the government did not intend to increase the facilities in remote areas. I’m worried that many people will die in the remote Himalayas, we will never hear about them. They will never appear in the statistics. ”