The contagious virus has clutched rural India in its deadly grip. According to experts, daily infections are increasing in the Indian countryside compared to big cities, where they have shown a trend declining after the last month’s surge. More than half of the cases in Maharashtra this week were from rural areas, up from one-third a month ago. According to government data, this share is nearly two-thirds in Uttar Pradesh, the most populous and primarily rural state.

The wrath of the virus has incurred havoc in Uttar Pradesh’s countryside. The number of COVID deaths in Unnao increased from 93 to 168 between April 10 and May 11. There are currently 1,986 active cases in the district. However, as one travels through its villages, testimonies indicate that the figure could be much higher, as not all symptomatic cases have been tested. While a lack of medical infrastructure is a major deterrent, there is also an adamancy to be tested.

Read more: UP-Bihar Covid situation worsens: Over 100 dead bodies floating in Ganga triggers panic

The poor villagers can’t afford to buy the firewood at the crematoriums that is the reason why hundreds of bodies have been buried in shallow graves along the Ganga’s banks in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district in the last three weeks. The villagers are also apprehended that the rising tides will flood the area and wash the corpses downstream.

On Monday, bloated, decaying corpses were found on the banks of the Ganga in Bihar’s Buxar. So far, 73 bodies have been fished out of the water. The ghastly scene has panicked the villagers. The authorities have claimed that the bodies had flowed into the state from upstream Uttar Pradesh, where similar sightings had been reported at a border village in Ghazipur district.

Sanjay Kumar, Bihar’s water resources minister, also weighed in, claiming the bodies had flown downstream from neighboring Uttar Pradesh. “The Bihar government is investigating. The bodies have floated into Bihar from UP,” Jha tweeted, adding that doctors had confirmed the deaths four to five days prior.

At least a half-dozen corpses were also discovered floating in the Runj river in Madhya Pradesh’s Panna district. The incident has not only terrified the residents, but they are also unsure how they will use the river’s water.