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St. Louisans worry about friends and family in India as COVID-19 cases there rise

Hospitals in India are overwhelmed with COVID-19 positive patients as cases rise

ST. LOUIS — "It's a sad situation," Dr. Zafar Jamkhana Director of the Medical I.C.U. for St. Louis University Hospital tells 5 On Your Side, "There's an exponential spike in the COVID numbers in India."

The country is dealing with thousands of coronavirus cases and not enough hospital beds or staff and even equipment to help people, which is why St. Louisans have resorted to calling their friends and family in India telling them to stay home. 

"My parents live in India," Dr. Jamkhana says, "They are very good with following my instructions to stay at home."

Sathish Nanjappa is the President of the India Association of St. Louis, "Every day they are trying to call their family members and check on them, how they are doing and giving instructions, requesting them not to go out."

So how did India go from a pandemic success story to a cautionary tale? Dr. Jamkhana and Dr. Farrin Manian, an Infectious Disease Physician at Mercy Hospital, said it was a "perfect storm" for India. 

Dr. Manian and Dr. Jamkhana outlined elements of India's raging COVID cases for 5 On Your Side: 

  • Slow vaccine rollout
  • Mutant, easier to transmit COVID-19 strains 
  • Religious and political mass gatherings
  • Relaxed/ limited social distancing and mask wearing 

The situation is a scary one in India, but one Nanjappa says his friends and family will overcome.

"I can say that there are several other occasions where India as a country bounced back from a tough situation like this," Nanjappa said. "I'm definitely sure that this will also be one of the tough times and people in India will understand and they will fight back and it will go well."

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