covid deaths

Indian American youngster Shawn Abraham died of a COVID-19 related illness in New York on April 5. (Facebook photo)

Four Indian Americans have died of coronavirus-related illnesses in the New York area, including a young adult and an elderly woman.

The Kerala American community offered tributes to Shawn Abraham, 21, who lived with his family in New York City until his death on April 5. Abraham is the son of Saji Abraham, the founding leader of the Federation of Malayalee Associations of Americas.

“Shawn, you enlightened the room with your smile giving it life,” said FOMAA in a statement, describing the young man as a “community leader like his father,” who was “always giving back.”

“We are absolutely distraught and have no words to describe this loss. We are heartbroken,” said the organization.

“You will live in my heart and soul forever,” Solly Abraham, Shawn’s mother, posted on her Facebook page. Shawn leaves behind two sisters, Shana and Sneha.

The family hails from Tiruvula.

The Federation of Kerala Associations in North America confirmed the deaths of three other Indian Americans who died of COVID-19 related illnesses in or near New York: Aleyamma Kuriakose, 65; Thankachan Enchenattu, 51; and Abraham Samuel, 45. The organization, an umbrella organization for several Malayalee organizations in the U.S., expressed profound sadness over the deaths in a statement. Additional information about the three victims was not immediately available.

As of April 6, 10,522 people in the U.S. have died of COVID-19 related illnesses. New York state has thus far borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. — 4,758 people have died in the state. More than 131,000 people in New York have been infected with COVID-19.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said the week of April 6-12 will be the worst week nationwide for the number of new infections.

The Consulate General of India in New York said that it is in touch with the families of the deceased, as reported by PTI. In an online advisory, the Consulate acknowledged that there is yet no cure, but encouraged Indian Americans to practice Ayurveda to boost immunity by drinking warm water, practicing yoga and pranayama for at least 30 minutes per day, and drinking turmeric in hot milk twice a day.

The Consulate advisory also encouraged Indian Americans to take chyavanprash and drink herbal tea. The entire advisory can be read here: https://bit.ly/2yFkQ2O.

Medical experts have encouraged people to take folk remedies with a grain of salt, noting there is no known cure for the rapidly-spreading disease. The Centers for Disease Control says the most effective way to prevent infection is via social distancing. The Trump Administration has reversed its stance on face masks, saying some sort of face cover should be used when out of the home. Several sites online demonstrate how to make a cloth-based mask.

Meanwhile, PTI reported April 6 that Ravi Batra, a New York-based Indian American lawyer, and his wife Ranju and daughter Angela recently recovered from COVID-19.

"Thanks to the joy of seeing Ranju and Angela daily, spending whatever waking time together, accepting dearest (Union Minister) Hardeep’s (Singh Puri) daily booster call, and the tsunami of prayers – we are alive today. President Donald Trump was right: with this lockdown, people will discover their family again,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.

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