India’s pandemic crisis hits home for Madison resident

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MADISON, Ala. – A Madison resident who recently lost two family members in India to the COVID-19 virus wants to share a warning for North Alabamians.

“Alabama, get vaccinated,” says Madison Resident Hanu Karlapalem.

India is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 but this one is hitting the country harder.

“They’re running out of hospital beds. They are running out of ICUs, they are running out of hospitals, they are running out of oxygen,” says Karlapalem.

Hanu Karlapalem lost two family members living in India from COVID-19 just last week.

“My uncle and aunt passed away within a matter of a few hours last week. So that was shocking news to us,” says Karlapalem.

Some public health experts suspect a new, Indian-origin “Double mutant” coronavirus variant — called b.1.617 — is behind the rapid spread of the disease in India.

Hanu says we could easily experience something similar in America.

“This is not over. This is a global pandemic. You know what’s happening in India and other places like in South Africa, India, or any other country. You never know what kind of mutant or variants are emerging and you never know if they are going to come here,” says Karlapalem.

He is urging Alabamians to get vaccinated.

“Even if part of the variant comes here to the us you know we will be in big trouble so we have to get ourselves vaccinated, ” says Karlapalem.

Hanu is also calling for the United States to send more aide to India.

A U.S. military transport plane carrying more than 400 oxygen cylinders, nearly one million rapid coronavirus test kits and other supplies landed in India on May 1.

CBS News shares how to help India during its current crisis. Below is their list for those looking for a way to contribute:

  • Care India is supplying PPE to frontline workers and helping set up temporary COVID-specific hospitals and care centers across India.
  • UNICEF is supplying oxygen concentrators, testing systems, PPE kits and personal care products.
  • Project HOPE is working with the Indian government to deliver medical supplies to the country’s hardest-hit areas, train frontline health workers and educate communities on COVID and how to stop the spread.
  • Americares is supplying oxygen concentrators, ventilators, PPE kits, masks, sanitizers, thermometers and other medical equipment.
  • Give India’s India COVID Response Fund includes wide-ranging fundraisers to help supply oxygen, medical beds,  sanitary napkins and food and fund medical treatments and quarantine support.
  • The Indian Red Cross Society is running blood drives and delivering equipment across the country.
  • The Association for India’s Development is providing direct relief services, including delivering groceries and other items to those whose livelihoods are directly impacted by the pandemic.
  • Vibha is helping provide food and hygiene kits for families, oxygen concentrators to hospitals and working to set up vaccination centers.
  • Oxfam India is providing PPE, supplying food and cash to those hardest hit, working with policymakers on ensuring vaccine accessibility and working to support India’s overall public health system. 
  • Indian crowd-funding platform Ketto is fundraising for oxygen supplies.
  • The American India Foundation is assisting with oxygen, medical beds and cold-storage equipment, as well as community outreach and education.
  • The International Medical Corps is providing PPE, sanitation and hygiene supplies, and isolation facilities, as well as addressing vaccine misinformation and concerns surrounding vaccine hesitancy.
  • United Way Worldwide is immediately funding medical supplies including BIPAP machines and hospital beds to the hardest-hit areas.

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