News India Times – that’s all you need to know Cover Story News India Times June 11, 2021 4 International students in U.S. rally for COVID relief back home Saving Lives In India S hortly after giving a May 7 speech detailing the administration’s effort to combat the coronavirus surge in India, Vice President Kamala Harris got on the phone for another conversation about the virus’s spread there - this time, to her aunt and uncle in her mother’s home country. India has faced testing times since the past few months. The sudden and massive surge in COVID-19 cases across the country, lack of infrastructure and fatalities witnessed has been devastating for its people. This caused grave concern to Indian diaspora around the world. Like many others, the Indian Graduate Students As- sociation at Carnegie Mellon University under the leadership of President Priyank Lathwal sought to transform this anxi- ety into productive efforts for COVID-19 relief. “We had noticed that although there were many fundraisers being spoken of, an urgent need to fund shortages in medi- cal supplies, and a tremendous desire to help the unfolding crisis, people still felt unsure about which relief effort was a trusted and transparent option to donate to – particularly from abroad,” said Ro- shan Shah from CMU in an email to Desi Talk NY. On the other hand, students and student organizations from different universities seemed to be considering floating their own fundraisers for their university networks. The combination of these factors implicitly represented an opportunity for students from different schools to come together, benefit from ‘economies of scale’ and rally around one united effort. On April 25, three universities- Carn- egie Mellon, Cornell University and the University of Pittsburgh launched a fundraising campaign on the gofundme platform, and word spread quickly about this initiative. Meanwhile, Shyamli Badgaiyan, a 2nd year MBA student at Harvard Business School was planning a parallel cross- university fundraiser. After connecting via Facebook and a 15 minute Zoom call, Priyank and Shyamli decided to join forces and launch a larger cross-university fun- draising effort on the GiveIndia platform across the US. “I had been watching COVID-19 cases surge and been feeling terribly anxious and helpless,” Shyamli, who is from Delhi, was quoted saying in a press release from Harvard University. “I found myself think- ing of ways to help from afar — an instinct I would later learn many students across the country were also feeling.” “GiveIndia felt like the right platform to do so as it has partnerships with many NGOs on the ground, and has had great impact working on Covid relief last March The GiveIndia team, committed and ef- ficient, helped us launch the fundraiser within 24 hours, and we continue to work closely with them to expand the list of NGOs to best direct funding to,” said Ro- shan, Shyamli and Priyank in the email. They urge people to see their impact report from an earlier COVID relief fund. Once these students launched the fun- draiser, the important part was to spread awareness about the surge in cases and their relief efforts. Being in the university ecosystem enabled them to reach out to students, staff, faculty and alumni in their universities. Word spread quickly and other univer- sities which had the same concern joined hands with them. “Today, we have a team of 55 student leaders from 30+ student organizations representing over 25 schools in the US including Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard University, Stanford University, Yale University, Cornell University and others working with us to aid relief ef- forts,” said the trio. The student organizations are working on transitioning to the GiveIndia fund- raiser sianstudents/ which has raised a total of $436,481 as of June 1. The first set of disbursements from the By Shruti Dhawan - Continued On Page 6 O n one of the first days I have tak- en “off” as a physician from the pandemic this year, I received a text message that my uncle’s oxy- gen levels had dropped from the 90s to the 70s. Anything under 90 percent is cause for concern, especially with the novel coronavirus. He was sick halfway across the world in India, where one of the worst coronavirus pandemics continues to rage. I texted my cousin, asking whether the waveform - the little pulsations on the monitor that tell you whether the read- ing is accurate - was displaying correctly. He said it was not, and so it seemed that the drop was only momentary, and very possibly a false alarm. I told them not to panic but cautioned that we needed to keep a very close eye on his case. The family - including me, from a dis- tance - had been trying for several days to manage my uncle’s care at his home in Hyderabad. He suffered from obesity and diabetes, both conditions that predispose patients to negative outcomes, but with hospitals near him overcrowded, he pre- ferred to try to push through at his house. When he first became ill, I told my cousin to go to the neighborhood pharmacy and buy oral steroids. I advised him on the correct dosages to start if my uncle’s ox- ygen levels dipped, and my uncle soon needed that treatment. For several days, my cousin and I texted back and forth or spoke on the phone as my uncle’s health deteriorated. I suggested placing him on his stomach - doctors call this “proning” - to improve his oxygen intake. It complicated matters that two other people in the house also were infected - my cousin and my aunt - although their cases were less severe. My cousin was nonetheless exhausted, and my aunt con- tinues to cough even now, weeks later. The situation I found myself in is not an unusual one for first-generation immi- grants to the United States from India: We are trying desperately to keep our loved I’m A Doctor In The U.S., Fighting To Save My Family In India From Covid By Abraar Karan Photo:Twitter @AbraarKaran Abraar Karan, global health physician and writer. Photos:courtesyof Roshan Sharma Shyamli Badgaiyan, Harvard University. Roshan Sharma, Carnegie Mellon University. Priyank Lathwal, Carnegie Mellon University. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui Medics tend to a man with breathing problems inside a COVID-19 ward of a government-run hospital, amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Bijnor district, Uttar Pradesh, India, May 11, 2021. - Continued On Page 6