Columbus residents with India ties reflect as COVID-19 pandemic rages


COLUMBUS (WCMH) – While the COVID-19 pandemic is improving here in the United States as well as Ohio, that is not the case in other parts of the world, with India experiencing the country’s worst wave of the pandemic.

Indian citizens as well as their loved ones in central Ohio want people to know that while numbers are getting better here, vaccines are being administered, and things are opening, it’s a much different situation in India.

They said some supplies are hard to come by and they have friends who have had a hard time just getting a hospital bed.

Thousands of miles apart, siblings Aparna and Dr. Uday Nori share different perspectives on the toll COVID-19 is taking on their home country.

“This has completely taken a U-turn and we’re back to a sense of déjà vu,” said Aparna Nori from Bangalore, India.

Aparna lives in the southern part of India. Last year at this time, the country was in lockdown. Now, she’s under lockdown again.

India reported more than 3,800 deaths and 300,000 cases Tuesday. Recent daily case counts had been more than 400,000, with deaths over 4,000 daily.

“It’s also very personal because we know friends who have been losing family, we know family who have been losing extended family, which is hitting really close to home now,” Aparna Nori said.

She said anxiety levels are high, but despite the challenges, she said community members are coming together to help those who are sick in any way they can.

“In the face of such a difficult time, people are really stepping up to help each other out,” Aparna Nori said.

Her brother is getting a sense of what’s going on in Indian hospitals. Though he’s a doctor and professor at Ohio State University, he’s regularly keeping in touch with doctors in India who he trained with.

He said hospitals are short on supplies like oxygen and well beyond capacity with patients having to be put in hallways.

“They have come to the point where to see patients in the clinic has become dangerous, so they feel like their hands and feet are tied,” Uday Nori said. “I think the biggest obstacle we are facing is the infrastructure.”

He advises the Indian Students Association at OSU, which Keerat Sandhu is part of. She has close family in India, too. Both are encouraging people to help, reminding the Columbus community that while things are getting better here, other parts of the world are facing huge challenges.

 “It’s kind of scary to know that even though I’m living in my little bubble and everything is seemingly going towards a good place, that people back in my hometown, people that are my family, friends, are struggling so much,” Sandhu said.

Recently, the OSU Indian Students Association held a fundraiser just before the semester ended, raising about $3,000.

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