Washington, DC: Foundation of India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) released the results of an extensive survey conducted in a three-week period to measure the impact that COVID-19 has had on the Indian-American community. The survey revealed that 1 in 6 knew someone from the community tested positive by Covid-19, 1 in 4 are feeling hopeless in the situation and 2 out of 5 are worried about financial stability. 98% of Indo American’s changed their lifestyles to stay safe and eat healthy. The survey results were released in a virtual session conducted on Saturday, June 28 that also featured leaders from the Healthcare, Travel, Finance, Technology, Social Service, and Legal fields. Each of the distinguished speakers shared the impacts that COVID-19 has had on their industry.
Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Indian Ambassador to the United States, gave the opening address for the virtual seminar. Ambassador Sandhu gave an excellent overview of the steps that the Indian government has taken in India to contain the virus as well as commended the Indian American community in America for their resilience in handling the difficulties from this crisis and contributing positively to the American society. “The COVID-19 Pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge across the world. India has been testing over 215,000 samples every day, and more than 1000 labs across India are involved in this exercise. In the United States, I have been speaking to Congressmen from both parties, and they are highly appreciative of the efforts of the Indian American community.”
Dr. Suresh Reddy from the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) mentioned that Indian origin medical professionals are in the forefront of the fight against Covid-19. Dr. Sampath Shivangi spoke about mental health issues as a result from the prolonged periods of isolation. Kalpesh Joshi from the Asian American Hotel Owners Association(AAHOA) mentioned that the travel industry is highly impacted and still helping Indo-American community and students by hosting them. Navneet Chugh from the Chugh Firm spoke about a high impact on tech professionals and industry due to the changes in immigration rules as well as the recent executive order stopping the new high tech visas.
Venktesh Shukla, Former Chairman of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE) mentioned about a recovery in the venture funding after an initial knee-jerk reaction in March. Vishal Khera mentioned efforts made to provide help in the Virginia-DC area. Romesh Japra from Festival of Globes (FOG) covered the resiliency of Hindu community. Sree Sreenath from Sewa International informed that about 3000 volunteers raised over 1million, distributed 63K food and 625K masks. Dr. Mandar Pattekar informed that Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) volunteers served 4300 meals and touched about 150,000 people including stranded tourists, and isolated seniors with accommodations, groceries and prescriptions. Amruta Houde informed that, with the help of 80 volunteers and a helpline, Hindu Yuva helped 400 college students with groceries, accommodations and help on legal, medical and travel issues. The FIIDS director, Khanderao Kand, noted that the COVID-19 virus pandemic has affected each of the industries in a tremendous way but Indo-American community helped communities across the nation as a whole.” Padma Bhushan Prof. Ved Prakash Nanda, President of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, gave the keynote speech for the event in which he summarized the impacts succinctly. “The Coronavirus doesn’t discriminate, and it is not making any distinctions. All of us are equally vulnerable to it. And it has been mentioned in different kinds of ways that this is uncharted territory. It will have an impact on us for some time to come. We have heard the impact on travel, on IT folks, and also the festivals that we used to have that are no longer there.” He also appealed Indo-American students to venture into humanity studies. The results of the survey and the full video of this seminar can be found on the FIIDS website: http://www.fiids-usa.