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The Good That People Do: Indians Reach Out With Helping Hand As COVID Spirals

As India reports upwards of 3.5 lakh fresh COVID cases a day, people infected and isolated find that succour is close at hand – sometimes neighbours and other times a faceless name on social media reaching out to help in any which way

The Good That People Do: Indians Reach Out With Helping Hand As COVID Spirals

New Delhi: Even the darkest cloud, it is said, has a silver lining. And because most oft-quoted clichés are rooted in reality, myriad acts of kindness, be it home cooked meals for the ill or arranging an oxygen cylinder, are shining through India’s gravest health emergency. As India reports upwards of 3.5 lakh fresh COVID cases a day, people infected and isolated find that succour is close at hand – sometimes neighbours and other times a faceless name on social media reaching out to help in any which way.

Also Read: ‘Indian Strain’ Of Coronavirus Found In 17 Countries: WHO

Just so they can, without any motive in mind. From people offering to run errands and home kitchens delivering meals to organisations and individuals stepping in to supply oxygen cylinders, oximeters and the like, the goodness runs like an undercurrent through the tragic times. And so, realising that entire families are in quarantine in many homes in her city and there is no one to cook nourishing meals for them, Chennai’s Rama Parthasarathy opened up her kitchen on April 14, Tamil New Year Day.

The 61-year-old dishes out healthy preparations – all vegetarian – and sends the food through portals like Dunzo or Porter for a nominal fee. The inspiration for Rama’s Kitchen, she said, came when her son Aravindh’s friend asked if she could food to the home quarantined as they are not in a position to cook at home.

The story is replicated in umpteen localities across the length and breadth of the country from Chennai to Chandigarh. Lists of home kitchens and thali meals, sometimes at a nominal price and other times free, have been circulating on WhatsApp groups, Twitter and other social media platforms.

Community kitchens have opened up in gated communities. In many places, including Mumbai and Gurgaon, neighbours have set up a roster system to ensure that all quarantined families in their complexes are provided food. Help comes in many shapes and sizes. Gopi’s e-rickshaw in Lucknow is one of them.

With cases rising in the Uttar Pradesh capital, the 45-year-old hasn’t been getting much business but is busy helping those in Shivaji Nagar locality. He gets milk, newspapers and vegetables for those who can’t move out from their homes, and often medicines and even X-Ray reports and the like. Raja and Shakeel, who run a cycle shop in Lucknow, are also doing their bit, helping people in Sarojinidevi Dharamshala lane with their their daily errands.

Also Read: WHO Bolsters Support To India To Tackle Second COVID-19 Wave

Sometimes, they also go to the nearest post office and banks either to withdraw or deposit money or update the passbook of residents in their area. They have a kindred spirit in Noida-based activist Kiran Verma who earlier this month posted on Twitter and Facebook that he owned “a humble Maruti Suzuki Esteem in good condition and completely sanitised”.

If any person, (willing to #DonateBlood or plasma) is finding it difficult to travel around NCR for blood donation. OR don’t have access to good food, I promise to drop you safe (with a smiling face) at a blood bank or provide food at your doorstep. The motivation is simply that these are very difficult times and I just wanted to encourage more people to come forward and show that we all are together in this tough time, said the founder of blood donation initiative ‘Simply Blood’.

Several people are working through their organisations. In Hyderabad, Azhar Maqsusi, who formed the Sani Welfare Association in 2012, arranges for cooked food to the poor as well as rations and medicines for them.

The food distribution is continuing daily and is being distributed to 1,000 people. We are also arranging for medicines for those who cannot afford, Mr. Maqsusi told PTI.

In view of the rising number of COVID-19 cases, he has also started the ‘Wall of Face Mask’ at the Dabeerpura flyover to provide free face masks to the people. And in Chandigarh, H S Sabharwal, a trustee of the Guru Ka Langar Eye hospital, said home quarantined corona patients are being given oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentration machines and oximeters free of charge.

We wanted to serve people who are in need of help during COVID-19 pandemic, said Mr. Sabharwal.

Hundreds of miles away, in Kolkata, mountaineer Satyarup Siddhanta and climber and model Madhabilata Mitra are among those who have been working to help COVID-19 patients in West Bengal. Their Covid Care Network has over 400 members, including several doctors, across the state.

Also Read: COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs: Should Women Avoid COVID Vaccine During Periods? How To Use A Pulse Oximeter?

The helpline number (1800-889-1819) raises awareness about the disease, counsels people and gives information on how and where to get admitted if the need arises. Besides, Siddhantha and his colleagues also operate an ambulance, with aid from the state government, to ferry patients from home to hospitals.

We have been doing this since last June and there has been a massive response. And now with this surge, there are at least 40-50 calls daily, Mr. Siddhantha told PTI.

The Rajasthani Health Foundation in Chennai is similarly helping with a dedicated team of doctors and nurses at a quarantine facility. The facility, for those who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms without comorbidities, is meant mostly for economically weaker sections in one room homes. Food, medicines, oximeters, masks and sanitisers are part of the deal.

We get about 500 calls per day now on an average. Where are the facilities for so many,”asked Jagadish Prasad Sharma, chairperson of the Foundation.

In Rajasthan, the Narayan Seva Sansthan in Udaipur is among the NGOs working to help people with masks and food.

The ‘NSS Mitra task force’ will be at the forefront in case of any crisis or calamity, said Prashant Agarwal, president of the NGO. The outreach, sometimes from random strangers, is of huge help.

Also Read: ‘Indian Strain’ Of Coronavirus Spreads Faster, But Little Evidence Of It Being More Lethal: Experts

Ask Atreyee Das, a fashion designer by profession, who lives alone in Gurgaon.

“After I tested positive for COVID-19, I was feeling really helpless and scared, being away from home and living alone. At one point, my oxygen saturation level dropped to 94-95, which frightened me and forced e to think of consulting a doctor,” said fashion designer, who hails from Kolkata.

I reached out to a friend who asked for help on Twitter. Several people, including doctors, responded. Finally, I was able to speak to a doctor from Lucknow, Dr Saurabh Kumar Singh. Even though I am an absolute stranger, Dr Singh helped me in every possible way by prescribing medicines, diet and informing me the Dos and Don’ts for a COVID patient, she said.

Good samaritans all, whether working in their individual capacities or through their organisations. As Covid continues is relentless march, they are also India’s Covid heroes. On Wednesday, India saw a record single-day rise of 3,60,960 coronavirus cases, which pushed the total tally to 1,79,97,267 (17.9 million/1.79 crore), while the death toll crossed two lakh following 3,293 fresh fatalities, according to Union health ministry data.

Also Read: COVID Vaccination: Dos And Don’ts To Remember As Vaccines Rollout For All Adults From May 1

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

22,70,55,138Cases
18,97,86,461Active
3,25,98,424Recovered
46,70,253Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,70,55,138 and 46,70,253 have died; 18,97,86,461 are active cases and 3,25,98,424 have recovered as on September 17, 2021 at 5:36 am.

India

3,33,81,728 34,403Cases
3,39,0563,867Active
3,25,98,424 37,950Recovered
4,44,248 320Deaths
In India, there are 3,33,81,728 confirmed cases including 4,44,248 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,39,056 and 3,25,98,424 have recovered as on September 17, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,11,525 3,595

52,893 310

63,20,310 3,240

1,38,322 45

Kerala

44,46,228 22,182

1,86,754 4,559

42,36,309 26,563

23,165 178

Karnataka

29,65,191 1,108

16,202 282

29,11,434 808

37,555 18

Tamil Nadu

26,40,361 1,693

16,756 120

25,88,334 1,548

35,271 25

Andhra Pradesh

20,34,786 1,367

14,708 105

20,06,034 1,248

14,044 14

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,628 23

193 11

16,86,549 11

22,886 1

West Bengal

15,59,567 707

8,025 25

15,32,922 725

18,620 7

Delhi

14,38,373 28

409 5

14,12,880 22

25,084 1

Odisha

10,18,298 580

5,335 105

10,04,845 681

8,118 4

Chhattisgarh

10,04,988 31

352 2

9,91,077 29

13,559

Rajasthan

9,54,230 4

103 1

9,45,173 5

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,677 22

149 0

8,15,446 22

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,374 7

119 5

7,81,738 12

10,517

Haryana

7,70,697 9

327 8

7,60,562 17

9,808

Bihar

7,25,864 12

72 6

7,16,134 6

9,658

Telangana

6,62,785 259

5,282 43

6,53,603 301

3,900 1

Punjab

6,01,180 30

314 11

5,84,399 38

16,467 3

Assam

5,97,074 468

5,381 15

5,85,914 479

5,779 4

Jharkhand

3,48,102 6

102 8

3,42,867 14

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,330 20

284 12

3,35,657 32

7,389

Jammu And Kashmir

3,27,466 170

1,421 72

3,21,630 98

4,415

Himachal Pradesh

2,16,430 127

1,568 82

2,11,215 206

3,647 3

Goa

1,75,183 95

699 1

1,71,195 96

3,289

Puducherry

1,25,170 107

963 63

1,22,380 42

1,827 2

Manipur

1,17,913 216

2,614 7

1,13,478 219

1,821 4

Tripura

83,787 31

427 26

82,553 56

807 1

Meghalaya

78,958 229

1,804 140

75,784 86

1,370 3

Mizoram

76,591 1,121

13,888 85

62,449 1,202

254 4

Chandigarh

65,168 4

31 2

64,319 2

818

Arunachal Pradesh

53,990 47

536 9

53,183 56

271

Sikkim

30,802 64

775 28

29,648 36

379

Nagaland

30,763 32

505 14

29,610 44

648 2

Ladakh

20,631 6

41 1

20,383 5

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

5 0

10,661

4

Lakshadweep

10,353

4 0

10,298

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,595 3

15 2

7,451 1

129

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