Rural China is running out of coffins because COVID-19 is rampant — and the cost of funerals is skyrocketing
- Rural areas in China are running out of coffins amid a COVID-19 outbreak, the BBC reported.
- There's no official COVID-19 death count or estimate in some rural areas in China.
Rural areas of China are running out of coffins and experiencing skyrocketing funeral costs because of a rapid increase in COVID-19-related deaths, BBC News reported.
One villager in the Chinese province of Shanxi told BBC that coffins had sold out in some regions and that funeral industry workers were "earning a small fortune" during the current COVID-19 outbreak.
According to the World Health Organization, China, a country of 1.4 billion people, has reported at least 34,000 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Reuters reported last week that WHO has accused China of underreporting the scale of the current data. Insider reported in December, citing Airfinity, a health data company, that more than 5,000 people were likely dying a day from COVID-19 in China.
In rural areas of the country, it's hard to gather data on COVID-19. The BBC reported that there is currently no official estimate for the number of deaths in rural Chinese villages, because most village residents are dying at home or in small village clinics.
BBC staffers who visited the Chinese province of Shanxi reported that crematoriums were busy, funeral homes were facing a shortage of coffins, and deaths were mounting.
"One day someone would die, then the next day someone else. It's been non-stop over the past month," one villager told the BBC.
One doctor who operates a small clinic in rural china told BBC that he is hopeful the worst is over and that most of the residents in his town had already caught COVID-19.
"We haven't had any patients in recent days," he said.
But there is a concern that more COVID-19 deaths are still to come, the BBC reported. Millions of younger people visited their rural hometowns over the Lunar New Year, potentially bringing COVID-19 back to older, more vulnerable residents.
The BBC interviewed one man, Wang Peiwei, whose sister-in-law had passed after catching COVID-19.
"She was a great person. We must hold a grand event to send her off, the best we can afford," he said.
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