Indian actor and vlogger Rahul Vohra died of COVID-19 on May 9 after being admitted early in the month. The 35-year-old’s wife Jyoti Tiwari confirmed his death in a social media post on May 10. However, Vohra criticized India’s hospital system in a video posted by his wife on the same day. The actor accused Indian healthcare workers of providing insufficient medical care for COVID-19 patients in the same video.
The 35-year-old gained popularity through his comedic videos that garnered tens of millions of views. A day before his death, Vohra wrote a final post on Facebook. His post, which also tagged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said: “I would have lived had I received better treatment.”
Footage posted by Tiwari on May 10 showed Vohra with an oxygen mask on. He said in the video: “This is extremely valuable right now. Without it, patients get giddy and suffer.” The vlogger also criticized the delayed response of hospital staff in the footage. “You try to call out for the attendant, but they don’t come. They come in a hour’s time or more, and you have to manage their absence somehow,” a translation of Vohra’s remarks said.
His wife captioned the video posted on Instagram: “My Rahul has left us no one knows how he left us. I hope my husband will get justice.”
Fans and fellow personalities alike paid tribute to the late vlogger. A Facebook user described Vohra as “a great actor talented person” who died because of “the worst politics.” Another Facebook user mourned his passing as “heartbreaking”. They remarked: “Unfortunately, we live in country where human lives are not valued.”
Playwright and theater director Arvind Gaur mourned the loss of the vlogger. “Rahul Vohra is gone. My promising actor is no more,” he posted on his Facebook page. Musician Aadil Gurezi meanwhile wrote that the “failure of system” caused Vohra’s demise.
Vohra’s death happened three weeks after the demise of another Indian celebrity during the pandemic. Tamil-language actor Vivekh died on April 17 after being hospitalized for cardiac arrest. Doctors claimed the actor died due to cardiac arrest stemming from a blood clot that formed in his blood vessels. Vivekh was dubbed as India’s public health ambassador and had posted videos in support of COVID-19 immunization efforts. (Related: India’s health ambassador dies one day after taking Covid vaccine.)
Another life claimed by second wave of coronavirus infections
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, India currently has 23.3 million COVID-19 cases with 19.4 million recoveries and 254,197 deaths. Experts have remarked, however, that the actual numbers may be larger due to data being under-reported. India recorded 366,494 new infections and 3,769 fatalities on May 9 – the day of Vohra’s death. These counts dipped slightly on May 10 with 366,161 new infections and 3,754 fatalities.
Crematoriums have been unable to cope with the overwhelming number of deaths in India. This has led to cremation centers being set up in hospital parking lots and wood from parks being cut down for fuel. Worse, some corpses that were not buried or cremated ended up being dumped in the Ganges River. (Related: Coronavirus cremations in India suggest death count possibly 10 times higher.)
Residents in the Indian state of Bihar reported more than 150 bodies of suspected Wuhan coronavirus patients at Buxar city, located on the banks of the Ganges. They added that dozens more were found floating downstream at the town of Chausa, which borders Bihar and Uttar Pradesh state. Local officials insisted that the bodies found were only around 40 to 45 in total and not more than 150.
Buxar official KK Upadhyay told NDTV: “They are bloated and have been in the water for at least five to seven days. We are disposing of the bodies. We need to investigate where they are from.” He added that the bodies may have been from three cities in Uttar Pradesh – Bahraich, Varanasi or Allahabad. “The bodies are not from here, as we don’t have a tradition of disposing in the river,” Upadhyay remarked.
Those living in Chausa have expressed fear that the bodies could transmit the Wuhan coronavirus after dogs were seen wading near them. “People are terrified of getting . We have to bury the bodies,” villager Narendra Kumar said. He added that a district administration official came to the town and announced a reward of 500 Indian rupees (US$6.81) for cleaning up the bodies. The issue nevertheless became a point of contention for Bihar and Uttar Pradesh politicians – with both sides now on a blame game.
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