Many Valley residents with loved ones in India left distressed, helpless as COVID-19 crisis worsens

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The country of India is facing a COVID-19 crisis of devastating proportions.

The death toll has now surpassed 200,000.

And hundreds of thousands of new cases are being reported daily.

As the infected try to recover from the virus, their loved ones in the Central Valley are living in constant emotional distress.

"They can't do anything, they are sitting here, just praying that their family members be alright," says Raj Pannu, the vice-president of American Sikh Sangat.

Pannu says the ill need oxygen and need it fast, to survive.

At the moment the supply in India is scarce.

Pannu says many locals have offered monetary donations but that can only do so much.

"Even if I financially help them it is not going to do anything for them because there is no oxygen and that is what they need," says Pannu.

The U.S. is now stepping in to help with the crisis.

On Friday, the Biden administration sent over a shipment of medical supplies, including oxygen tanks.

RELATED: US to restrict travel from India over COVID as 1st American aid begins to arrive

Health officials say the only way to turn the tide is through vaccinations.

"The only solution for India is to vaccinate itself out of this pandemic and the world really needs to help because if India does not fix this problem, the world is not done with COVID," says Dr. Ramanan Laxminarayan with the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy.

Only a reported 2% of the population in India has gotten the shot.

President Biden says once the AstraZeneca vaccine gets medical authorization from the FDA doses will be sent over.

In an effort to protect Americans, travel to India will be restricted starting Tuesday.
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