Row upon row of flowers and freshly dug graves, these images are a startling reminder of the cost of coronavirus.
The pictures were taken at a graveyard in Bradford, which is struggling to cope with a surge in Covid deaths.
Zulfi Karim, from the Bradford Council of Mosques, says gravediggers are working from 6am until 10pm to prepare graves at the city’s main Muslim cemetery, Scholemoor, but it’s still not enough.
They have buried 38 bodies in the last 10 days – that’s as many as they would normally lay to rest in a bad winter month.
Visit our live blog for the latest updates Coronavirus news live
He said: ‘As fast as we’re digging the graves we’re filling them up with dead bodies. It’s really really concerning, and my staff are getting to the stage where we’re at full capacity.
‘We’re having to bring in a construction company to see if we can find new methods to design and prepare for digging a grave.’
His concerns were raised by Dr John Wright from Bradford Royal Infirmary who detailed Mr Karim’s concerns in his BBC blog.
Professor Wright added Mr Karim said he had ‘never seen anything like it’ and he didn’t think he would see this in the UK in a ‘non-war situation’.
He said: ‘In the Muslim tradition a person should be buried within 24 hours of death, but Zulfi says it hasn’t always been possible to keep up.
‘It’s going to take some work to fully understand what is going on.’
The Office for National Statistics shows Bradford is currently seeing around 100 deaths per week from all causes, which is an increase from 60 or 70 in the summer but expected in the winter.
Covid-19 admission rates have now surpassed the first peak in April, but the mortality rate remains lower.
The average length of stay at Bradford Royal Infirmary has more than halved from 13 days to six.
He suggests some cases of coronavirus may be going undiagnosed, and more people could be dying from it at home than the statistics show, creating pressure on cemeteries.
Professor Wright explained Bradford may be particularly badly hit due to the unusually high number of multi-generational family in its population.
He said: ‘Back in February when the pandemic was hurtling towards us from the other side of the world, we watched how it devastated Italy and Spain and predicted that Bradford would also be badly hit.
‘The city has a high population density and overcrowded housing, but also shares with Italy and Spain a pattern of multi-generational family homes.
‘In cities like Bradford where schoolchildren and students (who often also live at home) were mixing with grandparents, this risk equation was always going to be different than in cities with fewer multi-generational homes.
‘We now have a much clearer understanding about the variables that increase the risk of death from Covid – including ethnicity, gender and co-morbidities – but age is by far the greatest factor.
‘And when grandparents share a house with young people, this heightens the risk.
‘Over the last couple of weeks I have been hearing of more and more personal tragedies that illustrate this problem.’
Professor Wright said he had spoken to Bradfordian Gulsoon Akhtar, whose father died from Covid-19 in hospital. Mr Akthar is a community engagement worker whose job it is to spread information about Covid-19.
Mr Akhtar told him: ‘It’s absolutely awful how many people are dying. My dad was only 63.
‘He’d had an angina attack several years ago but he was well and he had nine beautiful kids. I was just so overwhelmed and shocked.
‘Our youngest brother is only 17. We are all devastated and my mum has lost her best friend after 35 years of marriage.’
Businessman Shadim Hussain’s mum died from coronavirus on the day she was taken into hospital, after deteriorating quickly.
He told Professor Wright: ‘In the morning we picked up the body and we did the bathing of the body. By midday we got the body prepared for burial and our slot at the cemetery was at 7pm that night.
‘It was in the dark and there was something special about it – it felt quite peaceful.
‘I got a call from Zulfi and he said, “Whatever you need just let me know.” It was like having an army of people around, who wanted to help us.’
Professor Wright added that the coronavirus vaccine ‘cannot come soon enough’.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].
For more stories like this, check our news page.