The US is sending aid and supplies to India as it battles a record rise in COIVD-19 cases that have overwhelmed the country’s hospitals and forced mass cremations, the White House said Sunday.
The US will also send therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment to treat COVID patients and front-line workers.
Additionally, the US will fund a “substantial expansion” of BioE, India’s vaccine manufacturer, to ramp up production and produce at least 1 billion vaccine doses by the end of 2022, the statement said.
A team of health experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID will also travel to India to assist local officials.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval to express “deep sympathy” for the people of India, the administration said.
“To this end, the United States is working around the clock to deploy available resources and supplies. The United States has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India,” the White House statement said.
India has seen a shortage of vaccines and other critical COVID-19 care amid spiking casesAFP via Getty Images
Earlier Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s top coronavirus adviser, called what is happening in India and other low- and middle-income countries a “terrible situation.”
“I don’t think you can walk away from that,” he said on ABC News’ “This Week,” describing the supplies and aid the US will send to India.
“And there is more we can do. And I believe you will see shortly that all these things that we’re talking about are on the table, and we will be moving towards that,” Fauci said. “It’s the proper thing to do.”
India reported the fourth straight day of coronavirus infections on Sunday, setting a global daily record.
The country’s 349,691 cases over the past day raised India’s total to 16.9 million cases – second only to the US.
Municipal workers prepare to bury the body of a person who died of COVID-19 in Gauhati, IndiaAP
In the past 24 hours, India’s Health Ministry reported another 2,767 deaths, bringing the death toll to 192,311.
The rapid spread of the coronavirus — amid a new variant of the virus — has resulted in packed crematoriums, forcing officials to resort to mass cremation ceremonies, while hospitals have run out of oxygen and are turning away the sick.
“The virus is swallowing our city’s people like a monster,” said Mamtesh Sharma, an official at Bhadbhada Vishram Ghat crematorium in Bhopal.
An Indian man receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centerEPA
Workers there cremated 110 people on Saturday — even as the government said the total of COVID deaths in the city of 1.8 million amounted to only 10.
“We are just burning bodies as they arrive,” said Sharma. “It is as if we are in the middle of a war.”
The overwhelming number of bodies has caused the crematorium to drop individual ceremonies and rituals that Hindus believe release the soul from the cycle of rebirth.
With Post Wires