In March 2021, just as Covid-19 cases were dropping and we were planning to return to normal operations, buoyed by increasing surgeries and outpatient visits, Tamilnadu was hit by a second wave of coronavirus. Daily new cases peaked at more than five times the levels of the first wave. There were shortages of everything in the health system – beds, staff, oxygen, and lifesaving drugs.
During the first wave, hardly anyone knew someone personally affected. The second wave was very different with someone in every extended family affected, some severely and succumbing to it. Sadly, Aravind, too, lost one of our beloved founders, Mr. G. Srinivasan, to Covid-19. He was the force behind Aravind’s financial stability and all our physical facilities; he will be greatly missed.
In many ways, this adversity has made Aravind stronger and brought us closer as a family. Thankfully, the second wave is beginning to subside. Our optimism is returning as the patient volumes are again increasing. We have opened 12 new vision centers to serve rural populations. Nearly all our staff has had both does of the vaccination, and there is a grim determination to take on the next wave, should there be one.
During this time, we have been inspired and comforted by the support of our friends around the world. Many of you made generous gifts to help us through this time. For that and your belief in us, we are profoundly grateful.
Thulsi, Executive Director, LAICO, and AEF founding board member,