An image of a woman carrying her dead son from hospital on a rickshaw has come to symbolize India's devastating virus surge

An image of a woman carrying her dead son from hospital on a rickshaw has come to symbolize India's devastating virus surge
A public notice hangs outside Shanti Mukund Hospital notifying a shortage of oxygen, on April 22 in New Delhi, India.Amal KS/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
  • An image of mother and her dead son in India is being widely shared amid a national crisis.
  • Vinay Singh died after being turned away from two hospitals in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Some 300,000 Indians a day are testing positive for COVID-19, and the healthcare system can't cope.

An image shows an exhausted woman on a rickshaw with her dead adult son at her feet has become a stark symbol of India's deadly COVID-19 surge.

Chandrakala Singh sits with the body of her son, Vinay, on an electronic rickshaw in a busy street of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

Content warning: This image depicts a dead body.

Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous region, is one of the Indian states that has been worse hit by COVID-19.

The image has gone viral on Indian social networks over the past few days, according to BBC Hindi and India Today.


Singh died on Monday in Varanasi, reports said. He had been suffering from a kidney ailment, his uncle, Jai Singh, told the BBC. He had booked an appointment for Monday at the Banaras Hindu University.

But when he arrived the doctor was not there, and Singh and his mother were referred to the trauma center.

Singh collapsed in front of the trauma ward and doctors refused him entry, per the BBC.

Chandrakala Singh, his mother, said: "They said he's got corona. Take him away from here. My son, my child was gasping for breath. We begged for oxygen and an ambulance, but we got nothing," the BBC reported.

She put him on an electronic rickshaw to transport him to a private hospital nearby, which also turned him away.


Singh died on the way to a third hospital on the rickshaw, at his mother's feet, the BBC reported.

It is not clear whether Singh had COVID-19 at the time of his death.

Singh's is one of many stories featuring overwhelmed hospitals in India, which is struggling under one of the worse COVID-19 surges in the world.

India reported a record-breaking 315,835 new daily cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.

People are turning to social media and black markets to for aid as hospital struggle with a shortage of beds and oxygen.