India is in the midst of a massive surge in the number of COVID-19 cases. As of today (22nd April), India has had over 310,000 cases in a single day and over 2000 deaths in the past 24 hours. This is the highest single day rise in COVID-19 cases in the world. For perspective, we had approximately that many cases in the entire month of February this year!

Our staff has either been directly or indirectly impacted with the pandemic. Some of us have either had COVID and some of us are caring for COVID affected family members currently. We started evaluating what we as a company can do to make the lives of our employees easier during these trying times.

Our insurance partner, Plum, covers all COVID related hospitalization costs for our staff and their parents, so they don't have to worry about expensive medical bills. However, it also appears that getting access to hospital beds in several parts of India is also getting harder. We have a fairly young team and in the unfortunate event that they might catch COVID, we want to make sure that we have them covered.

At Blue Sky we have a saying: "You can't solve what you can't measure". As a small token of care, we have sent out a Buerer Oximeter to each of our team member. Oximeters are a simple but powerful way to measure how much oxygen is present in your blood. This will help our team members monitor their, and their family's vitals and assess the situation in case they suspect they've caught COVID. These oximeters come recommended highly. If you are interested in knowing how they work, this video does a good job of detailing their features.

Oximeters can help one assess if any extra measures need to be taken. If you already have one at home, please do consider donating one to people around you who might need it, such as your house help.

Below is an infographic with excellent advise on managing COVID when medical care is not an option. This is obviously not ideal, but it is a scenario that some of us are likely to face.

Description on what is necessary to do for COVID-19 when hospital or medical care is not accessible.
H/T Krutika Kuppali (https://twitter.com/KrutikaKuppalli/status/1384877529966780420/photo/1) 

Being tired right now is the default state for several of us. As this post outlines, our bodies are going through stress without an outlet. This results in fatigue both mentally and physically. These are extremely challenging times, and we are constantly on the lookout for ideas that can make life (slightly) easier for our teams.  

For example, Aakanksha Gaur at Wingify came up with the idea of unlimited hospitalization leaves and long weekends for the month of May. Their effort inspired us to give COVID leaves for our employees for the months of April and May. These will not be counted towards their regular quota of paid leaves.

In order to encourage vaccination, we have also decided to reimburse the cost of the COVID vaccine for our staff and two of their family members.

To aid with the extremely stressful challenge of being sick due to COVID, our team is volunteering to build a relief effort bot. If you are interested in volunteering, please write to Harsha.

If you do have other ideas or suggestions, we are always happy to hear from you.

We also would like to make a personal appeal to all CXOs, founders, and business leaders to start actively thinking of making the lives of your team members easier during this pandemic. If you can, please purchase oximeters for your employees. If you can figure out a leave policy, even better! They might not cost much, but they will mean the world to your employees. This is the least we can do. Thank you.