Photo Essays | Society | South Asia

Burying India’s COVID-19 Dead

Images from a makeshift graveyard in India, where coronavirus deaths are rising with every passing day.

This article is free

The Diplomat has removed paywall restrictions on our coverage of the COVID–19 crisis.

Burying India’s COVID-19 Dead

People prepare to lift the body of a man who died due to coronavirus at a graveyard in New Delhi on April 18.

Credit: Bhat Burhan
Burying India’s COVID-19 Dead

A health worker emerges from an ambulance at a graveyard where dozens of graves were dug in New Delhi on April 18.

Credit: Bhat Burhan
Burying India’s COVID-19 Dead

Relatives form a ring around the body of a woman who died due to coronavirus in New Delhi on April 18.

Credit: Bhat Burhan
Burying India’s COVID-19 Dead

Last burial rites of a man who died due to coronavirus in New Delhi on April 18.

Credit: Bhat Burhan
Burying India’s COVID-19 Dead

People carry the body of a man who died due to coronaviru, toward a grave in New Delhi on April 18.

Credit: Bhat Burhan
Burying India’s COVID-19 Dead

Relatives bury the body of a man who died due to coronavirus in New Delhi on April 18.

Credit: Bhat Burhan
Burying India’s COVID-19 Dead

Relatives look at the body of a man who died due to coronavirus in New Delhi on April 18.

Credit: Bhat Burhan
Burying India’s COVID-19 Dead

The body of a man who died due to coronavirus lies inside a grave in New Delhi on April 18.

Credit: Bhat Burhan

India is facing its deadliest coronavirus rush, with more than 1,000 deaths due to the virus every day, and sometimes over 2,000. The daily average of new cases across India has crossed 200,000 and looks headed for the 300,000 mark.

In the capital of India, New Delhi’s graveyards have dug dozens of graves and are scrambling to bury bodies. “The situation is worse. I have been digging graves since my childhood but never have seen such a huge rush of bodies coming to any cemetery,” Vinod Mehta told The Diplomat.

Mehta is a helper at one of the graveyards in New Delhi and has buried 78 bodies in the last 10 days.

Each days sets another terrible record. According to the Indian Health Ministry data, India on Sunday reported 275,196 coronavirus cases and 1,619 deaths from the virus, marking the worst ever daily counts. But those figures have continued to climb. On Wednesday, India reported 315,728 new cases and 2,102 deaths.

In total, India has counted 15.9 million cases of COVID-19, and lost 184,672 people to the virus. And that’s not counting people who died from other causes while hospital beds were full with coronavirus cases.

Despite everything, the head of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Dr. Balram Bhargava, stated that India’s second wave of COVID-19 is less extreme than the past one, taking everything into account. “Very clearly, we find that the symptoms are much less. As I mentioned that the symptoms of joint ache, fatigue, muscle ache, loss of smell, or sore throat are much less compared to the first wave. However, shortness of breath is higher in this wave,” Bhargava told a news agency.

Various Indian states, including the virus hotspots of New Delhi and Maharashtra, have imposed restrictions in an attempt to contain the virus. Meanwhile, workers continue to bury the dead.