Amidst the second wave of the coronavirus, states across India recorded record high cases. With the health infrastructure struggling under pressure, hospitals have been facing an acute shortage of medical oxygen, beds & medicines.
At a time like this, people turned to strangers on the internet, and many celebrities eventually joined the fight against the virus. Actor Sonu Sood, however, has been on the forefront ever since the pandemic struck India last year. During the second wave too, he is working tirelessly to help those in need.
Provides Oxygen to Hospitals
Sonu Sood and his team worked the entire night on Monday, 3 May, to save lives at a Bengaluru hospital, where over 20 lives were at risk allegedly due to a shortage of oxygen. After getting an SOS call from ARAK hospital, Sonu’s team started working to find oxygen cylinders. After securing one cylinder at short notice, 15 more were arranged.
In April, Sonu had also answered Indore’s plea for help. He urged everyone to stay safe and assured that everything will be fine in Maa Ahilya’s city. The actor ensured that 10 oxygen generators reached the city to tackle the shortage.
Chinese Ambassador Answers Sood's Plea
In a recent Twitter interaction with Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong, Sonu Sood requested that the consignments of oxygen concentrators to India be cleared. In his tweet, he said that he and his team have been trying to get ‘hundreds of oxygen concentrators to India’. Weidong assured that China will do its utmost to support India fighting COVID-19. He also promised to ensure smooth functioning of exports to the country.
Airlifts Patients to Hospitals
More than once Sonu Sood has airlifted critical COVID patients and got them admitted to hospitals as per their requirements. Recently, he arranged for an air ambulance for a patient and transferred him to a hospital in Hyderabad from Jhansi, where he couldn’t get proper treatment. The patient had to be taken to the Gwalior airport which Sood’s team also facilitated. Earlier too, he airlifted another patient, Bharti, from Nagpur so she could be better treated in Hyderabad. During his appearance on the show Dance Deewane, he teared up after watching a video of Bharti’s family thanking him, with one member calling him an ‘angel’.
Creates Awareness For Vaccination
On 11 April, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced that Sonu Sood would be brand ambassador for Punjab’s vaccination drive. Sood assured that they would do their best to ensure that everyone gets vaccinated. As part of the Network18 initiative, he was involved in the launch of ‘Sanjeevani – A Shot Of Life’. The initiative’s aim is multifold— to increase awareness about the vaccines and the need for vaccination, and enable vaccination in villages without proper access to healthcare. Apollo is the health partner for the drive and will help organize the vaccination drives.
A ‘Visionary Philanthropist’
Along with using his resources and accessibility for public good on the ground, Sood has also been using his social media platforms to amplify SOS requests. In a video on Instagram, Sood spoke about children who lost their parents to coronavirus, and urged the States and the Centre to help the kids complete their education free-of-cost. He also urged philanthropic organisations to lend a helping hand to facilitate this. Actor Priyanka Chopra applauded his mindfulness and called him a ‘visionary philanthropist’.
In a later video, Sood talked about the pressure on crematoriums due to the high death count. Referring to people not being able to give their friends and loved ones proper burials, he pleaded to the government that funeral rites should be more affordable, which would be possible if the government bore that cost.
He also started two initiatives to help people collaborate in an united front against the COVID second wave. Working with two healthcare services namely, HealWell24 and Krsnaa Diagnostics, Sood’s charity started a free patient-doctor helpline that people can access from the comfort of their homes. He also shared the link to a Telegram channel where everyone can work together to collate resources to help others.
In a heartbreaking video shared by Sood on social media, his phone was blowing up with notifications of people pleading for medical supplies. Apologising for any pleas he missed, he wrote, "We are trying our best to reach out to you. If there are delays or we miss out."
While people continue to struggle to find hospitals beds and oxygen related supplies, many other celebrities like Alia Bhatt, Taapsee Pannu, Bhumi Pednekar, Sidharth Malhotra, and Swara Bhasker have been amplifying requests and trying to help those in need.