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Rockland-based employee worries for family in India as COVID-19 cases soar

A Rockland-based employee is worried for his mother and brother in India as COVID-19 cases spike there.

News 12 Staff

May 7, 2021, 7:38 PM

Updated 1,137 days ago

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A Rockland-based employee is worried for his mother and brother in India as COVID-19 cases spike there.
Jassi Birk is originally from Punjab, India, but currently lives in the U.S.
Birk tells News 12 his mother and brother are still in India where cases are rising every day. According to reports, the country is seeing over 400,000 cases per day.
Yogesh Bahti, Birk’s friend in India, runs a local newspaper and says many citizens believe the death toll is much higher than the reported 230,000.
“It’s tough to watch how people are dying over there,” says Birk. “They burn the bodies… it looks like the whole country is burning.”
Many criticize India’s leadership for refusing to enforce countrywide lockdowns and allowing super spreader events like political rallies and religious festivals.
"The government is not able to handle the current situation,” says Birk. “There’s only one advice for the people, stay home and stay safe. If you depend on the government, we will die."
India’s medical system has collapsed. Hospitals are overflowing, coronavirus testing and vaccines are in short supply and oxygen is scarce. "So many people died just because of lack of oxygen,” says Birk.
The Rockland County-based employee tells News 12 he feels helpless and compares India’s current state to a “warzone.”
Birk encourages people to donate to nonprofits that are helping the country battle the virus.


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