India’s COVID-19 crisis has impact on Colorado families

Coronavirus

BROOMFIELD,Colo. (KDVR) — India’s record-setting coronavirus surge is impacting families in Colorado who are trying to help their loved ones overseas.

With 379,357 new infections, India now has reported more than 18.3 million cases, second only to the United States. 

Madhoo Seth, owner of Roots Restaurant in Broomfield, is flying back to her home country to support her family, as her brother fights for his life in the COVID-19 intensive care unit.

“His lungs are damaged and they cannot get medicine. They do not have any medicine. I wish I could fly him out here and get him treatment,” said Seth.

Her brother is just 42 years old — highlighting the hold the virus has on people in the country, regardless of age.

“He’s my baby brother. I love him to the moon and I cannot help him,” said Seth.

Hospitals are fighting to get basic supplies like oxygen. Meanwhile, families are taking matters into their own hands and purchasing medicine and oxygen anywhere they can find it.

The United States sent some relief this week with more than 400 oxygen cylinders and regulators, one million N-95 masks, and one million COVID-19 rapid diagnostic kits. But slowing down the increasing hospitalizations will take time.

“It’s crazy — the number of people who are coming in right now,” said Deepali Lindblom.

Lindblom said her sister works at a hospital in northern India, where all available space is being used for COVID-19 patients.

“Just wherever you can get space there’s a patient there, there’s a person there,” said Lindblom.

Dr. Lakshmi Chauhan, Infectious Disease Specialist with UCHealth, says the situation in India should concern people in the United States and Colorado.

“We still haven’t reached the threshold for herd immunity. We need to continue to push along with the vaccination and not slow down until that is really achieved,” said Chauhan.

She said the coronavirus wave in India is a reminder of how important it is to vaccinate quickly. This current surge is driven largely by the U.K. variant as well as a new variant that scientists know little about.

Chauhan said there are major differences when it comes to access to care in India and the United States.

“The patient to doctor ratio is much lower in India or other developing countries compared to the U.S.,” said Chauhan, “and a major part of the mortality and morbidity is also due to lack of basic healthcare availability.”

Despite the dire circumstances, Seth said she will stay in India as long as necessary to help her family.

“I’ve had sleepless nights for almost a week or so and I’ll get my peace there when I go. They’re my family, they need me right now and nothing will stop me,” said Seth.

Seth started a fundraiser through her restaurant to help bring necessary resources to people in Delhi.

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