NYC Mayor de Blasio announces aid for India’s COVID-19 response

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Mayor de Blasio announcing Dr. Vora as Director of Tracing, to counter the COVID-19 spread in the City, May 12, 2020, (Videograb from nyc.gov)

Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio announced May 14, 2021, that the city will tap into its stockpile to send COVID-19 test kits, swabs, ventilators, BiPap machines, pulse oximeters, and other medical supplies to India.

“Just over a year ago, New York City was the center of the global pandemic,” Mayor Bill de Blasio is quoted saying in a press release from his office. “Now it is our turn to step up and help India in its moment of crisis. We are sending vital medical equipment to India to send a clear message: nobody is in the fight against COVID-19 alone. Together, we can save lives and beat back the pandemic,” the Mayor added.

NYC Health Commissioner Dave. A Chokshi, one of the Indian-Americans in de Blasio’s administration, believes the city, which is home to thousands of India-born New Yorkers, as well as the country, have a moral imperative to demonstrate global solidarity in order to overcome this pandemic.

“We applaud the Biden administration’s support for COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers and call on the White House to take further action. India needs the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible. We should publicly share all research, technology, and techniques for producing the COVID-19 vaccines,” Chokshi added.

Kapil Longani, another Indian-American who is legal counsel to the Mayor, said, “This pandemic highlighted our interconnectedness as a global community, and it’s imperative that we stand together in solidarity to defeat this virus.”

Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar, the first Indian-American woman elected to state office in New York, said she stands in solidarity with the people of India at their time of need.

Quoting Martin Luther King, Jr., she added, “‘Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly,’ and that has never been more true than during the COVID-19 pandemic. If there is a COVID crisis in India, then New Yorkers are in crisis. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Chokshi for recognizing that we are all in this pandemic together and for sending supplies to the people of India so they can fight this deadly virus.”

Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India called the donation a “generous gift” from the city to the government of India. “The ventilators, bipaps and testing kits will be immensely useful in fighting the pandemic in India. The supplies being sent will further add to the robust assistance provided by the US government to India. The empathy shown by this great City is admirable,” he added.

Patricia Raghunandan, Queens Community Lions Club said, “The vaccines can help prevent deaths from covid and also slow the infection rate and save lives. It’s very critical for the people of India to receive this life saving vaccine.”

According to Harpreet Singh Toor, co-founder and president of South Asians for Global Empowerment, New York’s thousands of Indian-Americans are filled with anger and helplessness as they witness the unnecessary tragedy back in India.

He said, “Especially when our own situation has become so full of hope, it is the right time to join Mayor Bill de Blasio in calling for a full-scale effort to donate vaccines, COVID-19 test kits, swabs, ventilators, pulse oximeters, and every other type of relief possible to India.”

Dr. Dina Pahlajani, President of NY-based Children’s Hope India said the organization which supports underserved communities in many Indian cities, has reached out with donations, oxygen concentrators and other equipment and with its partners on the ground has created makeshift hospitals, triage stations and vaccination camps.

“The scope of our COVID-19 relief is individualized to each community where our projects are located, as the need in each community is different,” she added.

Several other community leaders thanked mayor de Blasio and Choksi in their effort to help India.

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