India Covid-19: Deadly second wave spreads from cities to small towns

India’s deadly Covid-19 second wave has devastated big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow and Pune. Hospitals and crematoriums have run out of space, and funerals are taking place in car parks. But the pandemic has now firmly gripped many smaller cities, towns and villages where the devastation is largely under-reported.

Rajesh Soni spent eight hours taking his father from one hospital to another in a tuk-tuk in Kota district in the northern state of Rajasthan on Tuesday. He couldn’t get an ambulance and the rickety vehicle was his only option. At 5pm, he decide to end his search for a hospital bed as his father’s condition was deteriorating. He then “left everything to fate” and came home.

“I am giving him medicines at home, but I am not sure that he will survive. We have been left to die on the streets,” Rajesh said. He says several private hospitals even “conned” him and took money to do tests, only to tell him later to take his father away as there were no beds.

“I am not a wealthy person. I spent whatever I had to pay the tuk-tuk driver and to hospitals. Now I am going to borrow some money to get an oxygen cylinder at home.”

Such stories have become common in Delhi, the worst affected city in India, but similar accounts are now coming in from smaller cities and towns across the country.

The BBC looks at what’s happening in five different states to see how fast the virus is spreading there.

<<BBC>>