Bay Area Sending Help to India Amid Coronavirus Emergency

The Bay Area is among the places answering India’s calls for help as the world’s second most populous country grapples with a COVID-19 disaster.

Hospitals are overwhelmed, there’s a shortage of life-saving oxygen and there aren’t enough ventilators for those who desperately need them.

“It is heartbreaking,” Dr. Kusum Atraya said. “It’s not only the patients, even the doctors are crying. It’s mind boggling. We need to help.”

Atraya decided to mobilize.

“I knew that these CPAPs are out there and people are not using it,” Atraya said.

CPAPs and BiPAPs are devices used by many to treat sleep apnea. Atraya is gathering them at her Gilroy clinic to ship to India this weekend because they can be modified to help keep a patient’s airway open in a crisis.

“This morning, I got three calls from India,” Atraya said. “‘When are you sending these? We have beds. We have space. But we don’t have any ventilators. We don’t have any oxygen.'” 

Simrit Singh Kamboe, a volunteer at the Sikh Gurdwara in San Jose, is helping to gather the machines as well.

“Those BiPAP and CPAP machines will be converted into ventilators in India,” he said.

The California OES office also tweeted Tuesday that it is sending hundreds of oxygen concentrators, cylinders and regulators to India.

The San Jose Sikh Gurdwara is also joining in the effort to help.

“Many of the hospitals don’t have oxygen,” Gurdwara Vice President Gurinder Bal Singh said. “And many of the Gurdwaras, the Sikh religious places, have organized that. They have oxygen cylinders available.”

If you’re interested in helping, you can donate at the Gilroy Family Dental Center, located at 1395 1st St. #102 in Gilroy. You can also donate at the San Jose Sikh Gurdwara.

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