Man Misdiagnoses Himself With Coronavirus, Takes Own Life to Protect Villagers

A man in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh has reportedly died by suicide because he was convinced he had the novel coronavirus.

The Telegraph has identified the man as 50-year-old K. Bala Krishna, a father of three who went to a clinic in Tirumala after he started experiencing flu-like symptoms. Doctors told him that he had a viral fever and advised him to wear a mask as not to spread whatever he had to other people. Krishna then spent a few days with relatives in Tirumala before returning home.

Nurse holding a Coronavirus blood test
Nurse holding a Coronavirus blood test photoguns / Getty Images

According to his family, while there he began watching videos on his mobile phone, which convinced him that he had contracted coronavirus, officially named COVID-19. When Krishna came back to Chittoor, he told his family that he had the coronavirus.

"My father kept on watching coronavirus-related videos the whole day and went on saying he has similar symptoms and that he was infected with the deadly virus," his son, who was not named, told the Times of India.

Krishna then entered a self-imposed quarantine in a room of his home, yelling and throwing stones at any friends or family members that tried to approach to reason with him. His relatives tried to argue that the doctors would have held him for observation if he had coronavirus, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

Krishna's son then called a government helpline to try and get his father counseling, but they informed him that he had nothing to worry about if he had not recently traveled to China.

The man continued his quarantine for a few days, then snuck out of his home on Tuesday morning and traveled to the graveyard where his mother was buried. Once there, he hung himself from a pear tree.

Krishna's death is considered to be the first coronavirus-related suicide reported since the start of the outbreak.

Four Indian citizens have been diagnosed with the virus. Three of them were in the Kerala province, with all three people recently returning from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicenter of the December 2019 outbreak.

The fourth was a man who contracted the disease in the United Arab Emirates.

On January 30, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global health emergency. According to The Telegraph, over 9,400 individuals in India are being observed by doctors after displaying potential symptoms of the virus.

Concern also exists about India's underfunded and overburdened public hospitals, which doctors fear may not be able to handle the strain of a quickly-spreading epidemic.