In a tragic turn of events, a resident of Seshamanaidu Kandriga in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, committed suicide, fearing that he had contracted coronavirus. The victim, identified as K Balakrishnayya, was sick for over two weeks. He was fifty at the time of death.
Speaking about the untoward sequence of events, Balakrishnayya’s family said that the man had gone to a hospital for a health check-up as he had a cold, fever, and a urinary tract infection. Upon returning, Balakrishnayya behaved strangely said the family members. He then proceeded to hang himself from a tree near his mother’s grave in the village outskirts, after locking his kin inside their home. His family said he had been watching videos about coronavirus on social media and panicked about contracting the disease that has killed over 1,100 people in China.
The victim’s family claimed that they tried contacting the helpline numbers set up to spread awareness about the deadly virus but received no response.
The authorities at the hospital in Andhra Pradesh stated that none of the doctors deemed that Balakrishnayya had coronavirus. He was treated as per usual for his other ailments including kidney and lung diseases – a commonality for patients of his age. They reportedly feared that he may have tuberculosis due to a lung effusion, and hence asked him to wear a mask, to prevent the spreading of infection. The family refused to lodge any complaint with the local police station regarding Balakrishnayya’s death.