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Oxygen shortage in India as COVID cases spike

About half of the world's new COVID cases are being reported in India.

HOUSTON — A COVID-19 surge in India has triggered more than 300,000 new cases a day for the last five days in a row. Half of the world’s new cases are now reported there.

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The surge has overwhelmed hospitals and created a massive oxygen shortage for patients. So Sewa International USA is stepping up in a big way.

Gitesh Desai heads up the Houston chapter and represents the national organization.

“In the last four days, we have raised, through our web page and Facebook page, well over $3.5 million. Our target is $5 million," Desai said.

Sewa is a Sanskrit word that means selfless service. The organization serves in 20 countries and provides disaster relief. The Hindu faith-based nonprofit has 40 U.S. chapters, including one in Houston.

“We already sent our initial shipment of 400 oxygen concentrators. It will be delivered by this Friday. Today, we purchased another 2,100 oxygen concentrators,” Desai said.

Desai said the group is also purchasing ventilators and will be sending volunteers door-to-door in India to provide COVID education.

“The magnitude of the challenge is so huge. I think it has touched the emotions of every individual,” Desai said.