- Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar Memorial Hospital has no space to store bodies
- Authorities say bodies are piling up faster than they can be cremated
- The hospital's intensive care units are at almost 100 per cent occupancy
Piled on gurneys, lying on the floor and even outside in the sun by the dumpsters - skin-crawling scenes of bodies at Raipur's biggest government hospital highlight the huge human cost of the second wave of COVID-19 in India and shows what happens when the country's creaky healthcare system is pushed to its brink.
Overwhelmed by the unprecedented number of deaths, Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar Memorial Hospital in Raipur has run out of space to store bodies. Far from freezers as is the procedure, they are now being kept pretty much anywhere with available space, a video clip recorded over the weekend shows.
Hospital authorities plead helplessness and say the bodies of patients who are dying of COVID-19 are piling up at the mortuary faster than they can be cremated.
The hospital's intensive care units and oxygen-equipped beds have been at almost 100 per cent occupancy for the past week.
"No one could have guessed that there would be so many deaths all at once. We have enough freezers for the usual number of deaths. But we just can't understand how places with one to two deaths are reporting 10-20. If we prepare for 10-20, 50-60 people are dying. How can we arrange freezers for so many people at once? Even crematoriums are overwhelmed," Raipur's Chief Medical and Health Officer Meera Baghel said.
"We were close to winning against Covid in a way thanks to measures like home isolation. But we are not able to size up this new wave yet. We are seeing cases where even asymptomatic patients are deteriorating really fast and dying of heart attacks," she added.
According to official sources, 55 bodies are being cremated in Raipur city on an average every day and most of them are coronavirus patients.
Among the 10 states that have been worst hit by this ferocious second wave of coronavirus in India, Chhattisgarh on Sunday reported 10,521 new COVID-19 cases, taking its caseload to 4,43,297 while 122 fatalities pushed the number of deaths to 4,899.
The worst-hit Raipur and Durg districts - which are under lockdown - accounted for 2,833 and 1,650 new cases, respectively, during the day. While the total cases in Raipur have reached 91,311, including 1,203 deaths, Durg's caseload rose to 55,395, including 939 deaths. Rajnandgaon saw 759 fresh infections, Bilaspur 624 and Korba 455 among other districts.