SAN DIEGO — Over 210,000 people have died from coronavirus in India and researchers believe there could be more than that. The country is experiencing another, even deadlier upsurge and now Indian-Americans in the San Diego area are weighing in on what’s happening there.
India is battling one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks since the pandemic began. Now President Biden is offering support and loved ones in the US say they’re trying to offer emotional support.
“I can name 30 people who are COVID positive,” said Arjun Punshi.
Punshi says he has a lot of family still living in India and the news of a second deadly wave of COVID-19 there has been devastating. The Associated Press reports that as of Saturday, more than 400,000 new cases have been recorded and over 3,500 more people have died in the last 24 hours.
“We have people in our close family who are affected and friends. So, it’s really, really, really bad. We were going to travel to India at the end of May, but that’s most likely not going to happen given the circumstances,” Punshi said.
Experts say the numbers are most likely being undercounted in a country that has over a billion people. Now India’s government says it’s stepping up its vaccination program to include everyone over 18 years old.
“People were getting vaccinated so only elders above 70 or 75 years old were getting vaccinated. They opened up everything very quickly. They opened up indoor dining 100%, opened up malls. So, I think people were letting their guard down,” Punshi said.
Though India is one of the world’s largest makers of vaccines, records show that only 1.5% of Indians have been fully vaccinated. President Biden announced this week that the U.S. would send supplies like oxygen and COVID tests immediately.
“I wish the Indian government had asked for help earlier. I’m sure the rest of the world would’ve helped. It’s just shocking what you see on the news,” Punshi said.
The president also decided to restrict travel from India this week as a precaution to help prevent another outbreak of the virus here in the U.S.
Watch: Man shares observations with News 8 as second wave of COVID hits India