India is currently dealing with the world’s worst ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and local families are filled with anxiety, hoping their relatives survive.
Footage of the crisis has gone viral on social media, showing desperate citizens pleading for oxygen outside of hospitals.
“People have not been wearing masks, no social distancing. People have been attending parties, rallies for elections,” Ashfaq Syed, of Naperville, said.
The death toll could be a huge undercount, as suspected cases are not included, and many COVID-19 deaths are being attributed to underlying conditions.
“There are people who have been dying in their cars in the parking lots,” Syed said.
Burial grounds in the capital New Delhi are running out of space. Bright, glowing funeral pyres light up the night sky in other badly hit cities.
The sheer number of people infected have made it difficult to make much of a difference.
“Shortage of oxygen, shortage of ventilators,” Syed said. “Because of the shortage, the cost of the oxygen has gone three times, four times up.”
In the middle of Ramadan, it’s not just a healthcare crisis, but also a humanitarian one. With charity work on hold, the country’s poorest have been the hardest hit by the virus.
“With everything being at a stop and a standstill, you know everyone is affected,” said Shailah Naseeruddin, of South Barrington.
On Tuesday, President Biden said the U.S. will join relief efforts by immediately sending drugs to help people recover faster and tools so India can develop its own vaccine.
If you’d like to help, you can donate to the Helping Hand Foundation here.