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COVID relief: Bay Area residents launch fundraisers to get supplies into India

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – With each day the COVID crisis in India gets worse, cases are skyrocketing, hospitals are overrun, and oxygen is in short supply.

“We wanted to do something to help.”

Now, Bay Area residents, including a Palo Alto couple, are stepping up to help family and friends back home.

“Within our family within our friend circle pretty much on a daily basis we hear about somebody who has passed away and it could have been avoidable if they got the appropriate medical attention and the oxygen,” Kanika and Rohit Mediratta, with covidreliefindia.com, said. 

The couple has launched covidreliefindia.com to raise money to buy and deliver oxygen concentrators, to hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.

“If you have the capacity, interest, and ability to help there’s a difference that each one of us can make and we need that help,” they said.

In the meantime, another group oxygenforindia.org is trying to raise $400,000 to bring oxygen cylinders and concentrators to hospitals and patients at home.

San Francisco volunteer Neesha Wadhwa has extended family and in-laws in India.

“This issue is very close to me and also a humanitarian crisis so not just my personal relationship to it but being someone in the world who wants to do good and help solve this problem,” Neesha Wadhwa, with oxygenforindia.org, said. 

India’s lack of oxygen is just part of the problem.

“India is at 8.8% first vaccination dose that is so underwhelming for a country of 1.4 billion people,” Dr. Monica Gandhi said. 

UCSF infectious disease specialist Dr. Monica Gandhi, whose aunt died of COVID after not being able to get into a hospital in India, has started a petition drive and joined other physicians calling on the U.S. government to do more to get more vaccines to India.

“A pandemic is never over until we’ve vaccinated the world,” Dr. Gandhi said.

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