In 2020, the first wave of the pandemic Covid-19 in India initially only infected residents in densely populated cities.
However, the second wave of the pandemic in 2021 has also hit large parts of rural India.
The lack of emergency services available in rural areas has prompted villagers to flock to hospitals in big cities for medical care.
Hardly affected rural areas
Indian federal officials acknowledge that the coronavirus pandemic is shifting to small cities and rural areas.
Rural areas in the western Indian state of Maharashtra are perhaps the worst affected. In this state there is the business center of Mumbai.
Rajasthan in northwest India has also reported a rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in rural areas.
Meanwhile, the spread of the corona virus in rural Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal has experienced a steady increase.
Health department officials in Madhya Pradesh said villagers infected with the coronavirus were willing to make long journeys to hospitals in Bhopal and Indore.
Many of those infected with Covid-19 previously attended the Kumbh Mela religious festival.
Rural communities underestimate the coronavirus
Many residents think the pandemic has ended and the corona virus only affects people in urban areas. As a result, the symptoms of Covid-19 have been dismissed as a common disease.
“Now, as infections increased during the second wave, villagers are realizing the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic and are starting to seek treatment,” said Anand Karia of the Health Mission. Rural National to DW.
“A lot of people are also afraid of being tested, because they believe they will catch the infection while undergoing the test. Now, their situation is critical,” Manoj Verma, a doctor from Ballia, told DW.
Mass Covid-19 test launched
Given the exponential increase in coronavirus infections in Uttar Pradesh, the government on Wednesday (5/5/2021) launched a five-day campaign for the early detection of Covid-19 in patients in villages.
More than 65 percent of Indians live in rural districts, according to the World Bank.
Epidemiologist Prabhat Jha, who is the principal investigator of the Million Death Study in India, told DW, every year there are millions of deaths in rural areas and the causes are not recorded.
Jha is conducting research to collect data on the causes of premature death in India. He said the majority of the deaths occurred at home and without medical attention.