Ashok Mohan holds up a photo of his brother-in-law, Vijay Sharma, who died from complications due to COVID-19 on April 27, 2021. A 72-year-old retired bank manager, Sharma had been living in the city of Jabalpur, India when he was infected and died within 10 days of contracting the virus. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)

Ashok Mohan holds up a photo of his brother-in-law, Vijay Sharma, who died from complications due to COVID-19 on April 27, 2021. A 72-year-old retired bank manager, Sharma had been living in the city of Jabalpur, India when he was infected and died within 10 days of contracting the virus. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)

‘We don’t know what to do’: Okanagan man shares COVID’s impact on family in India

India is currently seeing some of the world’s highest COVID-19 case counts, more than 200K have died

Ashok Mohan woke up on Tuesday, April 27, to the news that his brother-in-law had died from complications due to COVID-19.

Vijay Sharma, a 72-year-old retired bank manager, lived in Jabalpur, India when he was infected. He was taken to the hospital after experiencing difficulties breathing and died within 10 days of contracting the virus.

“They wouldn’t give his body to the family,” said Mohan, a West Kelowna Realtor who’s been living in the Okanagan since 1980. “The hospital arranged for the funeral and only two people were allowed to go watch the cremation.”

When Sharma’s son broke the news to the rest of the family, Mohan said everyone was devastated.

“The funeral was done yesterday while we were sleeping. I told him to be careful himself. You just don’t know,” he said.

India is currently in the midst of a COVID-19 crisis: the country set a record high of single-day cases on April 28 with 379,257 new cases, according to the World Health Organization. There are more than 18 million confirmed cases with 204,832 deaths.

“It has affected my mind,” he said. “I phone my friends around here (the Okanagan), and everybody is losing one or two relatives there (in India). You phone anybody — somebody has lost someone.”

He shared the story of a friend in Summerland whose sister and nephew living in India died on the same day due to COVID.

“Everybody I phone, they tell me about their family. Usually, we used to phone each other for condolences and stuff like that,” he said. “We’re all concerned, but we don’t know what to do.”

His fear now is with his brother, who lives in the city of Bhogal. He is currently relying on an oxygen cylinder as his lungs recover from the virus after becoming infected alongside his wife and their son.

“(My brother) sent me a message on WhatsApp saying he can’t talk. He said his lungs are infected and he’s having difficulty breathing,” said Mohan. “But, he said that all hospitals are overwhelmed, that you’re very, very lucky if you find a bed in a hospital.”

The worst part, he said, is that he can’t physically be there to support his family.

“You want to help them out, but how? We can only help with money, but money’s not everything,” he said.

He described feeling helpless and frustrated about the whole situation.

“You don’t know. You just leave everything to the will of God,” he said.

READ MORE: Central Okanagan School District staff to get COVID vaccine shot

READ MORE: COVID-19 cases continue downward trend in Central Okanagan


@aaron_hemens
aaron.hemens@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

Kelly Servinski, of the Tutti Hotel in Clinton, climbs above the river. (Photo credit: http://www.sterlinglorence.com/)
Gravel is the new gold: Cyclist bumps new biking trend

There’s gravel in them thar hills around Clinton

Amy Newman follows the route of the Cariboo Waggon Road — now Highway 97 — through Clinton. (Photo credit: New Pathways to Gold Society)
Grant received for Cariboo Waggon Road restoration project north of Clinton

New Pathways to Gold hopes to start work this summer on restoring sections of historic road

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Most Read