The alarming rate of deaths in the region has highlighted the stark realities of life in its communities
From church halls and gravesides, Welsh hymns would float across the hills when the village of Tonyrefail mourned its dead. But communal singing, like much else, has fallen victim to coronavirus and the south Wales valleys are grieving in silence.
The region, for 50 years an emblem of industrial decline, is one of the UK places worst hit by the pandemic. Official figures show that Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf, an area of 300,000 people, have suffered more Covid-19 deaths per capita than anywhere else in the UK since last March.