India’s coronavirus plague second wave is driven by ‘far more infectious and far more lethal’ variant, doctor warns as bodies are lined up in the street for cremation and court calls for officials to face MURDER charges

India’s Covid second wave is being driven by a ‘far more infectious and probably far more deadly’ strain of virus that has pushed hospitals ‘beyond crisis point’ in just a matter of weeks, a top medic has warned.

Dr Zarir Udwadia, a physician in hard-hit Mumbai and a government advisor, said India is now ‘in the stranglehold’ of a variant that has sent cases and deaths soaring and has already spread overseas, including to the UK.

‘It is really clear to me as it is to any physician, that this wave, perhaps variant-driven, is far more infectious and probably far more lethal than the first wave,’ he told the BBC’s Today programme.

‘I see younger patients afflicted, I have lost two 35-year-olds, a husband and wife on ventilators, a day ago.’

India has today reported 323,144 new Covid cases and 2,771 new deaths – down slightly on Monday’s totals but amid warnings that both figures are likely under-estimates.

In New Delhi, one of the hardest-hit cities, videos taken on Monday showed bodies lining the streets waiting to be burned, with staff now working day and night to meet demand.

Parks, car parks and playgrounds are also being turned into makeshift pyre pits to deal with the wave of death.

Meanwhile data revealed that the city’s Covid death toll may have been under-counted by 40 per cent last week, as crematoriums reported 3,096 Covid cremations but the government’s official Covid death tally stood at just 1,938 – a discrepancy of 1,158.

Meanwhile Judges in Madaras High Court, in the city of Chennai, have been calling on local officials to face murder charges for allowing mass rallies to take place without proper precautions in place.

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Source: Daily Mail