SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio resident Chintan Patel visited his home country of India in mid-March where he attended his cousin’s wedding. But when Patel, a father and husband, returned to the Alamo City, a second wave of the coronavirus surged across the nation of 1.3 billion people.
Two of his aunts fell ill to the virus.
“They were infected by the virus and their health was getting very critical in a matter of a couple of days,” said Patel, who has lived in the U.S. for 15 years. “You are always worried what will happen next.”
Hospitals throughout India have been overwhelmed, lacking oxygen, ventilators and enough beds for patients. Patel and family were desperate to get their loved much needed medical care.
“Within a week, we reached a period where all the hospitals in our town were full, all around India of course as well. So, we were all struggling to find a bed with a ventilator for them,” Patel said.
Patel’s aunts eventually were hospitalized; however, their conditions didn’t improve.
“A couple hours later, I heard the news from my mom. She called saying she passed away so that was very tragic,” Patel said.
Both of Patel’s aunts died within a day of each other in early April.
His grandmother also passed away following coronavirus infection.
Indian health officials are reporting more than 300,000 new coronavirus cases daily.
On Saturday, India became the first country to report 400,000 new cases in a single day.
More than 200,000 people have died as a result of the coronavirus in India.
Morgues are faced with mounting bodies, which has forced the creation of makeshift crematoriums in parking lots and playgrounds.
The U.S., France and the U.K. are among the countries shipping medical supplies to India.
Patel is keeping in close contact with family, especially his parents. He hopes India will come out of this latest destructive wave stronger than ever.
“Nowadays it’s nothing like a country itself, the whole world is one country and we need to treat it that way,” he said.
The Indian Association of San Antonio is among other similar organizations asking for the community’s help.
Monetary donations will go directly toward assisting India’s fight against the virus.
Click here to learn more about how to help.