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FOX 11: Local Doctors Speak on the Ongoing COVID-19 Crisis in India

FOX 11 recently spoke with Cedars-Sinai physicians Pooja Nawathe, MD, medical director of Pediatric Simulation, and Dechu Puliyanda, MD, assistant clinical professor in the Burns and Allen Research Institute, about the staggering COVID-19 crisis that continues to unfold in India, where more than 300,000 people have died from the disease.

Both physicians were born in India, immigrated to the U.S. and have deep concern for loved ones—including both of their mothers—who still live in India. "Being so far, it is really scary," Nawathe told reporter Laura Diaz.

Puliyanda worried about her hometown, a village called Kodagu, which is in desperate need of oxygen concentrators and personal protective equipment (PPE), just like the rest of the country. "It's taken a huge toll. Hospitals cannot even keep up with everything that's going on. There's no oxygen, and there's no help," she told Diaz. "My worst fear is that I will lose everyone I know, and that can happen."

Puliyanda, Nawathe and others are doing what they can, despite being unable to travel to India. Puliyanda created WhatsApp videos in her native dialect calling for people to wear masks and keep a safe distance from others. She also has helped raise $20,000 to fund a recently opened 30-bed COVID-19 ward in her village.

Fundraising efforts like Puliyanda's could have an even greater impact. Cedars-Sinai has partnered with humanitarian aid nonprofit Direct Relief to match employee donations up to $25,000 for PPE and medical equipment to maximize relief efforts.

Click here to watch the complete story on FOX 11.