A health worker in PPE tends to a patient at ESIC (Indira Gandhi) Hospital Jhilmil, on April 22, 2021 in New Delhi, India. Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times/Getty Images
The White House announced Monday it will send COVID-19 aid to India.
The Biden administration said it will send oxygen supplies, vaccine material, and therapeutics.
India is dealing with a devastating COVID-19 spike that its healthcare system is buckling under.
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The White House on Monday announced it would send aid to India as it deals with an ongoing COVID-19 surge that has overwhelmed its healthcare system.
The announcement came after a call between President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Biden “pledged America’s steadfast support for the people of India who have been impacted by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases,” a White House readout of the call said.
“The United States is providing a range of emergency assistance, including oxygen-related supplies, vaccine materials, and therapeutics,” the readout added. “Prime Minister Modi expressed appreciation for the strong cooperation between both countries. The two leaders resolved that the United States and India will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the effort to protect our citizens and the health of our communities.”
After more than a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, India has emerged as the latest hotspot. India reported 352,991 new COVID-19 cases on Monday – a global record for the fifth straight day in a row. It’s recorded more than 17 million cases in total, and over 195,000 confirmed deaths from the virus, per Johns Hopkins.
As Modi faces growing criticism over the escalating crisis in India, which has seen hospitals overwhelmed and people begging for oxygen, there’s been increasing pressure on the Biden administration to share the US vaccine supply and step up its efforts to help other countries.
“India, the world’s largest democracy, is now the epicenter of the pandemic and on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe … The Biden administration must clear the path to sending our excess supply of vaccines to India and other countries in crisis,” Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, wrote in The Washington Post on Saturday.
“The United States has, according to some estimates, at least 30 million unused doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that the FDA has not yet authorized. Given declining rates of vaccination among Americans, they seem unlikely to ever see domestic use. We should lend them to India now,” Jha added.
The White House on Monday said that it will begin sharing the US supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine as soon as it passes federal safety reviews, per the Associated Press. As many as 60 million doses are expected to be available for export in the months ahead.
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