Selling cars to buy oxygen for Covid-19 patients
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Selling cars to buy oxygen for Covid-19 patients

Shahnawaz Shaikh, 32 years old, grew up in a slum in Mumbai and used to own a small, successful construction company before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Among those who died from Covid-19 in Mumbai was the sister of Shaikh’s closest friend.

`All she needs is oxygen, which can save her and the baby in her womb,` Shaikh said.

The death of his best friend’s sister spurred Shaikh into action.

Shahnawaz Shaikh checks oxygen cylinders in Mumbai on April 28.

The Indian boy also spread the oxygen support project for Covid-19 patients to his friends and through social networks.

With the $12,000 earned from selling the car, Shaikh continued to buy 160 more oxygen cylinders to support patients.

By March, when India experienced the Covid-19 tragedy because of the second wave of the pandemic outbreak, hospitals continued to be overloaded while there was a serious shortage of oxygen supply.

Shaikh said he receives 500-600 requests for medical assistance every day.

Shaikh’s support team operates 24/7 with 20 volunteers, 240 oxygen tanks and a database that helps Covid-19 patients find information about hospital beds, ventilators and emergency doctors.

However, before the second wave of the pandemic, Shaikh’s ability to support was also seriously affected when he sometimes could not find a hospital bed or provide enough oxygen for patients.

Shaikh said he did not want to assign blame, but said the Indian government should have predicted the second wave of the outbreak.

`We are paying the price for the superficial attitude that made us abandon basic social distancing rules,` Shaikh said, adding that this is the time for people to help each other, instead of relying on others.

India is the second largest epidemic region in the world with nearly 25 million infections and more than 270,000 deaths due to nCoV.

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