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In the midst of the pandemic, social networks become a helpline for the desperate | India News


NEW DELHI: With coronavirus cases galloping, social media platforms have become desperate helplines for thousands of people across the country. Scroll through Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and you’ll find fervent pleas for ventilators, oxygen, ICU beds, and Remdesivir dominating the conversations. You will also find users discussing their deeply personal stories of loss and agonizing survival battles with the cunning and relentless virus.
Images of ambulances, names of patients and hospitals, cremation pyres convey a sense of despondency on all platforms. On Facebook, there were more than 27,000 posts about #Remdesivir on Sunday. Most of these posts came from smaller cities, including Patna, Indore, Gorakhpur, among others, who could not find the injection on demand at their local pharmacies. Similarly, on Facebook’s photo-sharing platform Instagram, there were over 13k posts about the Remdesivir requirement.
Some stories are heartbreaking. On Twitter, a journalist in Uttar Pradesh live tweeted the drastic drop in his oxygen levels before tragically passing away. One of the last photos he posted showed an oximeter attached to a finger with a reading of 31. His death was confirmed by a retired IAS official, with a verified account. A user from Madhya Pradesh posted about her experience trying to find a bed for her mother, whose oxygen levels were falling dramatically. Some users, with urgent drug requirements, tagged journalists and activists, hoping to reach the authorities and save their loved ones. Some publications also highlighted the dilapidated health infrastructure.
However, there are also stories of hope, of people coming together in these difficult times for the greater good. One identifier, Pandemic Relief List India, has started compiling a list of pan-India resources consisting of ambulance services, hospitals, therapists, and other community initiatives.
Covid Warriors, a Facebook group that includes people from Delhi who have recovered from the coronavirus, was inundated with requests for plasma, with users posting hourly requirements on Sunday. Another pan-India group Covid19 Plasma Donor – Recipient Help India Group had more than 130 posts every day for the last week.
Even on instant messaging platforms like Signal and WhatsApp, users sent requests for the essentials needed to fight the virus; plasma and Remdesivir being the most common.
Resource tools, compiled in Google Doc, have also become extremely common, especially for the younger generation. Lists containing details of plasma centers, Remdesivir providers and hospitals with available beds are being used by families of positive patients as a last resort.

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