Hicksville community worried for loved ones in India as COVID-19 cases spike
The Hicksville community, which has a strong Indian population, is worried for loved ones overseas as the US issues new travel restrictions due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in India.
The U.S. will restrict travel from India starting May 4, the White House said Friday, citing a devastating rise in COVID-19 cases in the country and the emergence of potentially dangerous variants of the coronavirus.
With 386,452 new cases, India now has reported more than 18.7 million since the pandemic began, second only to the United States. On Friday, the Health Ministry also reported 3,498 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 208,330. Experts believe both figures are an undercount, but it's unclear by how much.
The situation in India is so desperate that leaders from the Indian community in Hicksville held an emergency meeting Friday. Many of the leaders have their own heartbreaking stories about friends or relatives who've recently passed away from COVID-19.
Indu Jaiswan is in constant contact with her family in India, watching helplessly as COVID spreads uncontrollably.
"We lost one of our uncles," says Jaiswan. "Another is in the ICU. It's very bad."
Jaiswan, who is part of the Indian American Forum, says there's a big shortage of oxygen, PPE, medicines just to name a few of the items.
Shashi Malik, president of the India Association of Long Island, also recently lost loved ones to the virus. Her organization collected $25,000 over the last few days to use towards sending oxygen overseas.
"What information we are getting we are getting from the media," says Malik. "But it's worse when you receive phone calls from relatives. They tell you the firsthand knowledge of the situation over there."
The India Association of Long Island is still collecting donations to send much-needed oxygen to the country.
AP wire reports contributed to this story.