Grim COVID Visuals: No Truth in Foreign Media Singling India Out
These photos and reports bear testimony to the breakdown of health infrastructure in the second surge of Covid.
Photos of endless queues of patients outside hospitals and long lines of funeral pyres burning at crematoriums have come to encapsulate the gruesome state that India is in, as it suffers a disastrous second wave of the pandemic.
Amid reports that several states, including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, have been underreporting deaths, Indian and international media reportage from crematoriums and burial grounds have given a glimpse of the bitter truth on ground.
The current devastating state of public healthcare in the country hasn’t gone unnoticed by the global media either. India’s rising numbers and the government’s mishandling of the second wave has invited many a front-page article across the world.
Criticism Against Global Attention to India’s COVID Deaths
In light of this, some critics are asking why these news publications have not provided similar coverage to the COVID problem in other countries, such as US and UK.
While these photos and reports bear testimony to the breakdown of health infrastructure in such a crisis, such reports have drawn allegations that journalists are not only “disrespectful” to Hindus, but they also “dehumanising the victims”.
In some instances, Indian and foreign journalists have faced abuses online as well for their reports on the abysmal state in India.
But is India really being discriminated against by the international media? Not really.
In fact, there has been plenty of similar international coverage by the same publications as well from other countries that also faced a deluge of infections and deaths, like in the US, the UK, Brazil and Italy.
BBC, Reuters, The New York Times, The Washington Post and several other respected global news media publications have provided similar reportage from other countries when they were facing a crisis like India is looking at currently.
New York Burials
There have been reports on mass burials on Hart Island for unclaimed dead bodies in New York, as the city got overwhelmed with thousands of deaths in the initial phase of the pandemic.
The reportage has been replete with photo stories of the city’s mass burial replete with aerial shots of the burial grounds to depict the collapse of the state infrastructure in the pandemic.
An article on the Time read, “No one knows how many of the people arriving here died of COVID-19. At points, the city was so overwhelmed that bodies were sent to the island before authorities had a chance to determine their cause of death or track down the next of kin.”
Brazil’s Biggest Graveyard
The Guardian termed the mass graves at Manaus in Brazil an “utter disaster”.
Brazil, which had been the second-most affected country after US, until India overtook its numbers in April 2021, also prominently featured in reports of mass burials that showed the high death toll in the country.
Reports on Reuters and BBC showed heart-wrenching shots of the burial ground with numerous fresh graves of victims of COVID-19.
Italy, UK, Indonesia
There have been similar reportage on Italy and UK’s death tolls as well. Much like what is being alleged in India right now, an article on The Wall Street Journal from 2020 read, “Many are dying uncounted as the nation’s stretched healthcare system struggles to save the living and accurately gauge human cost.”
Below, a report by ABC News questions the state’s claims on Covid-19 deaths.
Currently, it’s not just patients, but even the dead have to wait in long queues to get appropriate funeral rites in Delhi. Uttar Pradesh, too, is struggling with crammed cremation grounds, as reports suggested.
As India crossed the grim milestone of 2,00,000 deaths from COVID-19, hospitals continue to gasp for oxygen supply. while patients are facing a shortage of hospital beds and other essential supplies, such reports help put into perspective the number of lives lost in the pandemic.
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