Amritsar district has recorded 283 Covid-19 deaths in the month of April, if the Punjab Health Department is to be believed.
While this official figure includes both rural and urban areas of the district, the two main crematoriums in Amritsar city have seen an alarming rise in cremations in April which points to a much higher death rate.
Those incharge of affairs at Shivpuri cremation ground near Durgiana Temple and cremation ground Shahidan near Gurudwara Baba Deep Singh in the city say that the total cremations have been over 1,000 in April.
At 10.45 in the morning, next to the gate with an iron grill, an ambulance is parked with its door open. Inside, the Covid patient is lying on his back, an oxygen mask on his face. Next to him is his wife, her hand clasping his. For five minutes, there is silence, then shouts outside. “Where will we take him?” asks a family member angrily. “What can we do if there is no space,” a nurse responds. She turns to the patient’s wife: “Just don’t let him fall asleep.”
It’s a replay of familiar scenes outside Covid isolation wards across the country since early April when the second wave started wreaking havoc. But then, this is the district hospital of Muzaffarnagar, in Uttar Pradesh, a state which has the fourth highest active caseload in the country with over 2.6 lakh cases.
UP has recorded more than 7.82 lakh infections since April 1, which is 55 per cent of the state’s entire caseload. And, nearly 40 per cent of its death toll of 14,151 has been recorded after April 1, with high caseloads in smaller towns like Gorakhpur, Bareilly, Moradabad and Meerut.