At Delhi’s biggest crematorium, Nigambodh Ghat, the number of cremations have gone up from 15 per day to over 30 as COVID-19-related deaths in the national capital continue to rise.
Delhi recorded 104 deaths due to coronavirus on Wednesday, the highest since November 20. The same day, India recorded 1,027 deaths, the highest daily count since October 18 when 1,033 deaths were recorded.
Gautam, 27, who lost his grandfather to Covid on Tuesday night reached the Nigambodh Ghat on Wednesday at 8:30am but even after five hours, the funeral had not been performed due to lack of space at the cremation facility.
“We arrived here at 8:30 am. Our turn has not come yet. The situation is very bad. Two-three dead bodies are being brought in each ambulance,” he said.
At Delhi’s biggest graveyard near ITO, a JCB excavator could be seen being used to constantly dig up more graves but it is also fast running out of space.
Mohammad Shamim, the caretaker of the graveyard, said: “From one or two bodies a day, it is now 17 bodies daily. In the last five days, the condition has deteriorated. We only have space for 90 more. If situation continues like this, then in the next 10 days, we will run out of space.”
Director of Cardio Thoracic Vascular Surgery at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute Dr Ritwick Raj Bhuyan said the death count is high because people are reporting to hospitals “at the very late stage.”
“Mostly, people are dismissing their symptoms in the initial stage as cough or flu. It’s only when their condition deteriorates badly that they turn up at hospitals,” he claimed.
However, many people queuing up outside Delhi hospitals said that there is a delay in being admitted due to lack of hospital beds.
Ashok, who struggled to get his 35-year-old brother-in-law admitted to the Delhi government-run Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital said: “I have been running around in the ambulance since morning for hospital beds. I did not get it. At St Stephen’s Hospital, there was no bed. No beds at all, neither in government nor in private hospitals. None of the hospitals are picking up their phones. On the Delhi government’s corona app, it shows beds are available but when you turn up at the hospital, no bed is available.”
On Wednesday as of 6pm, 85 per cent of Delhi’s ICU beds with ventilators and 88 per cent of ICU beds without ventilators were occupied.
The second wave of Covid has hit Delhi hard, with the city logging more than 10,000 cases a day since Sunday. It logged more than 17,000 fresh cases of coronavirus on Wednesday — another record high since the pandemic reached the national capital last year.
The Delhi government has attached banquet halls, schools and sports complexes to hospitals in a move that’s expected to provide an additional 875 beds. Private hospitals have already been told to set aside a chunk of beds for Covid patients.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will hold a series of meetings on Thursday — first with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and then with the Health Minister, Chief Secretary, Health Secretary and other top officials, sources said.