Dr Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical adviser, has said countries across the world have failed to provide an adequate global support to help India fight the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and the rich countries should assume more responsibilities to lend a helping hand.
“The only way that you’re going to adequately respond to a global pandemic is by having a global response, and a global response means equity throughout the world,” Dr. Fauci told the Guardian Australia.
He added, “And that’s something that, unfortunately, has not been accomplished. Often when you have diseases in which there is a limited amount of intervention, be it therapeutic or prevention, this is something that all the countries that are relatively rich countries or countries that have a higher income have to pay more attention to.”
India, in the last 24 hours, recorded 3,60,960 fresh Covid-19 cases and 3,293 deaths, which is the highest in the country so far. With today’s numbers, the total number of coronavirus cases rose to 1,79,97,267 and the number of fatalities reached 2,01,187. At present, there are 29,78,709 active cases in India and as many as 1,48,17,371 people have recovered.
So far, at least 17 countries have come forward to help India, and they range from the neighbours to the major powers in the world. While Bhutan is going to supply oxygen, the US might be able to share AstraZeneca vaccines next month.
Among the countries that are sending support are the US, UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Romania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Sweden, Australia, Bhutan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Thailand and UAE among others.
“The United States has really revved up their activity in helping out India … we’re sending oxygen, remdesivir, personal protective equipment, a variety of other medications and soon we’ll be sending vaccine to help out,” Dr. Fauci told Guardian Australia.
“So, I think that that’s a responsibility that the rich countries need to assume. Right now, it’s a terrible tragic situation where people are dying because there’s not enough oxygen, where there’s not enough hospital beds. We have to try, looking forward, to get as much equity when it comes to public health issues as we possibly can,” he added.
He further said, “Because we’re all in this together. It’s an interconnected world. And there are responsibilities that countries have to each other, particularly if you’re a wealthy country and you’re dealing with countries that don’t have the resources or capabilities that you have.”
The US expects that there are approximately 10 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine that could be released if and when FDA gives its concurrence in the coming weeks. The UK made an announcement that 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators, will be sent to India this week. Out of these, 100 ventilators and 95 oxygen concentrators already arrived on April 27.
Asked whether the situation in countries like India meant the world would struggle to ever contain Covid, Dr. Fauci said, “I believe we will get there. But it makes it more difficult when you have the spread of infection in a country that’s not handling it very well. If you get infections in a country in which there are a lot of immunosuppressed individuals, including people who are infected with HIV and the virus infects them, they don’t clear it as rapidly as you would hope and that gives the virus a chance to mutate, which leads to the development of additional variants.”