(Chicago, IL: April 19th, 2020) Responding to the national/world-wide shortage of masks and other personal protective equipment, American Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States, has raised funds, donated money, purchased and donated Masks to several Medical Institutions across the United States.
Recognizing the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE), and that millions of healthcare professionals, including physicians and nurses, who are in the forefront diagnosing and treating patients diagnosed with COVID-19, are experiencing shortages of much needed Masks and PPEs. AAPI under the leadership of Dr. Suresh Reddy launched a Fund Raising to support their fellow professionals, providing them with Masks that are so vital to prevent them from getting transmitted with this deadly virus.
Dr. Suresh Reddy, President of AAPI, said, “As we are not prepared well, our frontline soldiers (physicians) are working under suboptimal conditions with severe shortage of masks and other protective gear. As a result, some of the foot soldiers have succumbed to this deadly virus. To protect our fraternity, we have established a donation box on AAPI website under the banner “DONATE A MASK.”
A Task Force consisting of Dr. Jayesh Shah, Chair; Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda. Co-Chair; Dr. Suresh Reddy, President of AAPI; Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, Vice President; Dr. Seema Arora, Chair, BOT; Dr. Sajani Shah, Chair, BOT-Elect; Dr. Chander Kapasi, Chair, AAPI Charitable Foundation; and Dr. Surendra Purohit, Vice Chair of AAPi Charitable Foundation, has been constituted to identify the hospitals and sending the supply of Masks/PPE directly.
In our efforts to contain and prevent this pandemic, we are recommending that the Authorities across the nation “Implement and enforce a total lockdown of the nation, social distancing, and enforce self-quarantine of the total population, as has been practiced in other countries in order to flatten the infection curve,” Dr. Jayesh Shah, Past President of AAPI, said.
While thinking generous donors who provided cash and, masks to AAPI Task Force, Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, President-Elect of AAPI and Chairman of the AAPI’s Task Force on Donate a Mask initiative, announced: “Last week, Dr. Suresh Reddy, Dr. Sreenivas Reddy and Member of Illinois Medical Board donated Masks on behalf of AAPI to Deb Carey, CEO of Cook County Health Care Systems. ISCOPI donated masks to 3 local hospitals last week. And Flushing Hospital in Queens was another beneficiary from AAPI’s Mask Drive. In addition, funds raised locally by several AAPI Chapters and masks were bought by AAPI, and were donated to dozens of smaller health care institutes and private practices as per the local needs.”
Dr. Seema Arora, Chairwoman of AAPI BOT, said, “We are experiencing an extraordinary and unprecedented time. Never before in the modern history have we experienced this kind of health-related calamity. Covid-19 is playing havoc on our streets and isolating family members at home. The results are catastrophic. As the disease is new, we are not able to treat it properly. We don’t have vaccines or anti-viral agents to effectively treat the patients with this strange disease. As of now, we are only providing supportive treatment.”
Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, Vice President, AAPI, said, “AAPI is urging the Government to expand testing on a wholesale level and make freely available across the United States; Quarantine and Isolation: Enact quarantine and isolation rules like we have seen in other countries to prevent the spread of the virus; and, Off Site Treatment Areas- Create treatment areas outside of hospitals and healthcare facilities to test and treat patients who are potentially exhibiting symptoms and need additional guidance.”
“While applauding our fellow healthcare workers, including physicians, nurses, EMS, paramedics, medical assistants, and healthcare professionals, we are saddened that many of these heroes are being infected with COVID-19 while treating patients and often without Personal protection Equipment, endangering their safety and that of their families,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, Secretary of AAPI, said.
Dr. Kolli also cautioned of significant mental health impact of the pandemic due to disruption of social and economic life from isolation and job loss. He encouraged everyone to stay socially connected with their loved ones via smart technology, and avoiding over consumption negative media and alternative news sources.
Dr. Raj Bhayani, Treasurer of AAPI, while acknowledging the significant impact and the cost of these policies on our fellow citizens and our society as a whole, said, “We have witnessed rapid growth in the spread of the virus that have led us to believe that further action is needed.”
“To protect our medical fraternity, AAPI has established a donation box on AAPI website under the banner “DONATE a MASK”. We request all the members to donate generously to fight this ferocious virus, which has put the basic existence of entire human race at stake,” Dr. Chander Kapasi, announced here.
“Our special thanks to all the AAPI members who are already working at “ground zero” risking their own lives. We are extremely grateful for these “foot soldiers” working under suboptimal conditions. Let’s kill this “rakshas” virus together and let’s our next Diwali be a really special one,” Dr. Reddy said.
As concerned physicians witnessing the growing COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on our society, healthcare system and economy, we are writing to you, our local, state, and federal policy leaders to advocate more immediate and severe action to prevent the crisis from becoming unmanageable.
In view of the rising number of positive cases of COVID-19 in USA, Dr. Lokesh Edara, Chair of AAPI International Medical Education, AAPI has urged the President of USA and all State Governors to mandate people that:
- EVERYONE SHOULD WEAR A MASK when going outside in public and interacting with any person similar to the mandatory rule made by Czech Republic
- Along with hand washing and 6 feet social distance, the sick should be ISOLATED
- Every patient must wear a mask when seen by a Physician and a Healthcare worker
Quoting evidence from Japan and Czech Republic that this could be an effective measure to flatten the COVID-19 spread curve, AAPI has pointed out that Japan has very low COVID-19 spread: 13 cases per million vs USA 374 per million; Japanese have a cultural habit of wearing a mask for several reasons, and the mask is mutually beneficial for the person wearing it and to the people adjacent to them.
Dr. Lokesh Edara, Chair of AAPI International Medical Education, said, “The recommendations that we have put forth above are based on the increasingly worsening data and trends that we are witnessing get reported on a daily basis. We hope that you seriously consider them as our goals of defeating the virus and minimizing loss of life, pain and suffering are one and the same.”
“We urge the Authorities to provide the much needed equipment, testing and facilities enabling them to be isolated and treated, which will reduce the sickness of our healthcare workforce at precisely the time we need them to be healthy and treating patients,” Dr. Reddy added.
For more information about AAPI and its several initiatives, including to address the global pandemic, please visit: www.appiusa.org