Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.30 5 May 2021


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An Indian man living in Ireland says everyone in his country knows someone who has died from coronavirus.

India recorded 382,146 new cases and 3,780 deaths on Tuesday.

It also accounted for nearly half of the coronavirus cases reported worldwide last week and one in four of the deaths, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

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While WHO Special Envoy on COVID-19, Dr David Nabarro, has said what is happening in India 'could well happen in other places'.

Vish Gain is from Kolkata in India, and has lived in Ireland since 2019.

He told The Hard Shoulder he is hearing bad news on a daily basis.

"It's obviously not very easy to cope with what's going on at home - even beyond the statistics, when you see what's going on on the ground and when you hear from your friends and family about all the people that you used to know who either have it, or know someone who have it or - of course - some who've have passed away because of it.

"It's hard to hear it on a daily basis.

"I suppose the timing as well is a little hard, because sitting here in Ireland when things are getting so much better there's this ambivalence of feeling that you feel at the same time.

"You're happy that you're going to go out and meet your friends that you haven't met for over a year - but at the same time, you're constantly thinking of family and friends back home who are going back into a lockdown.

"Perhaps the harshest lockdown that India has seen until now".

Vish said his immediate family are currently fine, but several of his relatives are recovering from the virus.

"And last week I received news of one of my cousins, who was just in his 30s, and he after a long battle with COVID passed away.

"And then yesterday again, one of my great uncles, passed away because of it.

"It's not just me - most of my friends post about it every day.

"Everyone in India last month knew someone who has it, but it seems like everyone in India knows someone who's died because of it".

It comes as the Irish Government has donated a further 500 oxygen concentrators, two oxygen generators and other vital materials to India to help respond to the exponential rise in cases.

'Vaccine supply is just really bad'

Julia Tereno, who is originally from Brazil, said she is in a similar situation.

"A lot of my friends have had COVID, or they know somebody who's had it.

"I have a few family members who had it as well: one of my uncle's actually passed away from COVID last November."

She said some of her friends have even bought oxygen tanks to treat themselves at home.

"Some of my friends would be, his husband, when he tested positive, they just didn't trust the health system in Brazil.

"They were afraid that it was going to get really bad, so they ordered oxygen tanks online so they could treat it at home.

"So it's really sad to see this happening... having to go through this and then not being able to count on the health system to take care of you if things get bad."

She said while the vaccination programme in Brazil is moving, it is not near large enough.

"I think they have about 32 million people vaccinated with the first dose - but Brazil has a population of 200 million, so that's not nearly enough.

"It's very slow because I don't think they have enough shots, the vaccine supply is just really bad there".

Julia said her 92-year-old grandmother, who lives in a nursing home, actually recovered from the virus.

While her 17-year-old brother tested positive a few weeks ago "but he is OK now".

Main image: Vish Gain. Picture via @VishGain on Twitter

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Brazil Coronavirus Covid-19 Dr David Nabarro India Julia Tereno Kolkata The Hard Shoulder Vish Gain

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