A group of Indian Americans in the D.C. area is raising money to help family, friends and people in need in India as the country’s COVID-19 case numbers explode. This past week, India saw nearly a million new infections in just three days.
Video out of Delhi shows overcrowded hospitals and an overflow of patients on the streets desperately trying to get hooked up to oxygen. The World Health Organization said more contagious variants and mass gatherings are to blame.
“Every day I’m afraid to talk to somebody in India, because I hear someone we know has been severely impacted or has passed away,” Kannan Srinivasan, a Sterling resident, said.
Like Srinivasan, other residents also have loved ones back in India.
“We had one death in the extended family, like yesterday, and then one of my aunts, she’s not doing well,” Shashank Sharma said.
Sharma lives in Clifton and is also raising money for COVID-19 relief in India.
Another person he’s worried for is his roommate from graduate school, Dr. Vijaykumar Gowda. Gowda is now a doctor treating COVID-19 patients at Shakthi Hill View Hospital in Mysuru, India.
“It’s getting worse and we don’t know what the next couple weeks is gonna hold," Gowda said.
That’s the reason Sharma wanted to help. He started a GoFundMe page to help buy oxygen concentrators for his friend’s hospital.
“It’s awesome,” Gowda said. “The work he is doing is quite awesome and it definitely helps a lot of people. That will open up a lot more oxygen beds in our hospital.”
So far, the GoFundMe page has raised nearly $15,000. Srinivasan is also pitching in, raising money and making calls to help a family friend find oxygen.
“Everything helps, but it’s kind of heartbreaking and it’s very tough situation there," Srinivasan said.
In the meantime, an entire country faces a health crisis, awaiting help that can’t come soon enough.