These young guns rose up to run Covid war room


Express News Service

BENGALURU: A group of young Indians is stepping out to help sick people who are desperately seeking hospital beds, life-saving medicines and resources such as oxygen, plasma donors, ambulances etc at a time when the health infrastructure in the country has almost collapsed.

Aanya Wig, a 21-year-old final year student of Lady Sri Ram (LSR) College, New Delhi, formed a WhatsApp group ‘Covid Fighters (India)’ after she found people posting urgent requests on Instagram for medical assistance.

“It all started last weekend when we saw how Instagram had an overwhelming number of requests from people asking for leads for hospital beds, plasma, oxygen, ambulances etc. We started ideating on how we could liaise between the sick and the available life-saving resources,” said Aanya.

While there is a lot of information floating around on social media on resources, nobody really knows if someone will answer a helpline number. “This is when we came up with the Discord (social media platform) community, which started off with an associate consultant and my friend Arnab and I. We now have more than 4,000 people from across the country on Discord constantly helping each other and reaching out to those in need and verifying resources,” she added.

Aanya said there was a need to organise the large number of requests and match them with available resources. “So, we used Google spreadsheet to make a resource deck on which we verify information in real time and put it out immediately on Twitter or Instagram, tagging those who were looking for it,” she added.

Avni Sood, a 12th grader from Delhi Public School, Sushant Lok, Gurugram, was one of the first members to join ‘Covid Fighters’ group. “I joined ‘Covid Fighters (India)’ on April 20. We verify information on essential and life-saving resources, call up listed numbers to check availability and prices. Calls to hospitals and oxygen cylinder providers need to be re-verified every three to four hours since availability is very volatile,” said Avni, who volunteered with the group after the government postponed the CBSE exams for Class 12.

“I tweet all verified information regarding beds and oxygen providers every few hours on my timeline, which is further re-directed or tagged to seekers of that information,” she said.

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