SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — In the last 24 hours, 4,000 deaths and more than 343,000 new infections of a highly communicable strain of COVID-19 have been reported throughout India — news Hemanth Tatiparthi is devastated to hear.
“Even last night, two of my friends’ fathers passed away, and personally, my parents were affected last year,” Tatiparthi told FOX40.
Just 40 minutes outside the city of Visakhapatnam, the virus has found its way to Tatiparthi’s childhood community and former high school.
“We have a lot of attachment to our school. We all grew up together, so we have this bonding, no matter what,” he said.
He and other members of the Vijnana Vihara Alumni Association are now getting involved by raising money to help the school transform nearly 100 of their dormitories into a free COVID-19 isolation center.
“So they’re taking in patients who need oxygen, but when they turn pretty bad, they’re also offering care until they find a bed in a nearby hospital,” Tatiparthi explained.
People in the surrounding rural villages are also being offered food, medicine and transportation. The problem, however, is that these items, especially oxygen, are extremely hard to come by.
“The prices of oxygen has gone really high, like four times or so. Even a vial of medication about the black fungus they’re talking about recently, it is almost like six times [more expensive],” he said.
Dwindling bed space and medical staff are more issues.
“The government has been working on expanding the beds, but the problem was the staff. It’s the same staff and same doctors and it’s really hard for them to meet this need,” Tatiparthi said.
To aid what is happening back home, Tatiparthi and his alumni brothers and sisters are raising $100,000 — or 7.3 million Indian rupees — for the school.
And to put things in perspective, Tatiparthi says a donation of $30 would supply medication, food and transportation for just one patient.
“A small fraction of this could save a life back in India,” he says.
To donate to the school’s GoFundMe, click or tap here.
Supplies needed include:
1. Oxygen generation plant set-up: 25,00,000 INR
2. Oxygen cylinders: 100 x 15000 INR (each) = 15,00,000 INR
3. Oxygen delivery equipment: 100 x 5000 INR (per pack) = 5,00,000 INR
4. Medical supplies, such as drugs for patients and PPE for volunteers and doctors for an operating period of 45 Days: 7,50,000 INR
5. Nutritious meal (250 INR per person per day) for the patients and volunteers for an operating period of 45 days: 7,50,000 INR
6. Transportation and logistic services to shift patients to nearby hospitals, counseling services, etc.: 10,00,000 INR
This totals up to 70,00,000 INR, or approximately $100,000.