Over the last few weeks, we have been getting heartfelt emails from our customers around the world, sending their thoughts and support to our team in India, regarding the second wave of COVID-19.
We want to take this opportunity to tell you we are grateful for your kind thoughts and support.
Although the situation in India is dire, Vtiger services have not been interrupted and our teams are pressing forward with optimism and enthusiasm. While several of our teams have members who are dealing with the virus, colleagues have stepped in to take the additional load. We did push back a few internal deadlines and have made other minor adjustments to give ourselves time to recover.
Second-wave has exposed limitations in India’s medical infrastructure
During the first wave of COVID in India, which peaked in September 2020, the daily number of confirmed cases never surpassed six figures. During the months of April and May, India logged more than 300,000 confirmed new cases daily for more than 24 days straight with speculation that the actual count is much higher. Although the situation varies throughout the country, many hospitals are overwhelmed and struggling to provide hospital beds and oxygen for the influx of patients needing care. Shortages in oxygen supply have led to heartbreaking losses of lives in many places around the country.
According to this article in Reuters, in the city of Nagpur, which is in the state of Maharashtra (the hardest-hit state in the country), a government hospital with 900 beds had around 60 patients waiting to get in, as they have completely run out of beds and space to care for new patients. The situation is similar in many regions of the country. Although the situation has improved, the people living in Nagpur and the surrounding areas are still in distress. See Nagpur: Decline in cases not a victory over Covid as yet, warn experts.
Lockdowns have returned
To stop the spread, most state governments have now imposed lockdown measures. In many regions, people are only allowed to leave their residence for a few hours a day to gather essentials, which is becoming increasingly risky as they face possible exposure in larger crowds.
Don’t take Covid lightly – 3 personal accounts…
We wanted to share our experiences of living with COVID-19.
Kalmesh’s experience in Vasco-da-Gama
Kalmesh is a Senior Accounts Manager at Vtiger. He is currently working from home in the town of Vasco-da-Gama in the coastal state of Goa. Goa has a population of 18Lakhs (1.8 million) and there are 3000+ new cases and 40+ mortalities daily. Cases are quite high and, currently, it is in lockdown.
Kalmesh elaborates further on the efforts of the Government saying, “The Government is putting a lot of effort into arranging oxygen and vaccines. They are also providing a COVID Kit which contains necessary medicines and other medical supplies for all people who test positive.”
Despite the valiant efforts by the Government and people of Goa, Kalmesh says, “People around are scared of the second wave. The second wave is more dreadful than the first. The mortality rate is high and even the spread is fast compared to the first wave. A lot of young people are getting infected with COVID now.”
Kalmesh and his brother have also recently tested positive, but fortunately, his brother has fully recovered. His parents, who also live in Vasco-da-Gama, are vaccinated and have shown no symptoms so far. Kalmesh is also feeling better every day and describes his current symptoms saying, “There is no fever or sore throat now, although I have a cough and my taste/smell is yet to recover.”
Ganesh’s experience in Bhimavaram
Ganesh, our Global Partnerships Manager, describes the situation he is facing while working from his hometown of Bhimavaram on the south-eastern coast of India, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. He describes his situation stating “Our home is surrounded by positive cases. It’s like WW3 without using the weapons. Cases are increasing day by day, and this pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life. It’s sad to see known people pass away due to COVID infection.”
Ganesh elaborates further on hospital access and oxygen supplies in Bhimavaram, saying “Since it’s a town, facilities are average, and people have to be admitted to the district hospital if it’s serious. The current state government is doing its best to install more beds and deploy more oxygen cylinders. However, private hospitals have good facilities these days.”
There are also limited testing sites that offer free diagnostic and surveillance testing which is not helping the situation. Ganesh describes the process by saying “COVID test results take more time to receive than expected. By the time the results come, the people are getting sick.”
The vaccination efforts are also buckling under pressure, currently, the vaccine supply is limited and is only available for people 45 years old or older. Ganesh remains optimistic as he patiently waits for his turn, pointing out that the government has ordered some 8 million more vaccines in the last few days.
When asked how the second wave differs from the first wave, Ganesh says, “There is a noticeable difference in that the second wave is far more destructive in terms of the infection rate. With the current facilities provided by Vtiger, I’ve been working from home for the past 14 months. The only help I can do for myself and the people here is to stay home, stay safe, and break the chain.” Staying home is not only the best option, when possible, but it’s also being enforced, as the Government has imposed a new 2-week curfew.
Ganesh reflects on some of the lessons learned during COVID and points out “This Virus taught a lesson to the people in terms of keeping us hygienic and to stop buying unnecessary things. Earlier, if anyone sneezes, we used to say God bless you, now people are saying oh God, please bless me! People are sympathetic nowadays, but people who are positive are really looking for empathy rather than sympathy.”
Shilpa’s experience in Bangalore
Shilpa, a Content Creator at Vtiger, is currently living and working in Bangalore (Home of Vtiger HQ). She is also feeling the stress of the second wave saying, “Right now the situation is bad, after my mother-in-law and Granny’s results were positive, we all decided to get the swab test done since we were nursing them and we all had mild symptoms like dry cough and cold. Now, 5 out of 7 people have tested positive in my home.”
Shilpa also described the situation regarding access to hospitals and medical supplies saying, ”It is very difficult to get a bed in Bangalore hospitals and there is definitely a scarcity of oxygen concentrators, ventilators, and common drugs. In this second wave, we are facing a lot of difficulties to get necessities. We need to book an appointment with the doctors or diagnostics centers to get the test done, and the worst thing is we need to wait for many hours to get the reports back.”
Shilpa and I also discussed the difference between the first and current second wave and its effects on her family. She said, “It is a big difference for my family and me. Last year we were all at home cooking special meals and having virtual meetups with our dear ones. But this time, my family and the extended family have tested positive, and it has caused many problems both mentally and financially. The Government has announced a 15-day lockdown in our state to reduce the infection. Having said this, I feel the spirit is less in my own family. Everyone is scared to step out of the apartment too.”
After receiving a positive diagnosis, Shilpa isolated herself in a separate room and has now fully recovered. “I’m feeling good,” she says and leaves those who test positive with a suggestion, optimistically saying, “Stay calm and take it easy so that you will recover soon. Staying mentally strong is the key to recovery.”
Despite the difficult and sometimes unimaginable situations presented to our teams across India, they are all maintaining a positive attitude as they navigate their own unique experiences with grace. The outreach and support from our customers have truly helped lift their spirits, as they continue to press on and ride out the second wave of this storm.
If you would like to help those affected in India, please click here to donate to the PM CARES Fund.