— Health

US races to send vaccine components, medical supplies to India as COVID-19 ‘tsunami’ cripples the nation

India set a new global record for the most COVID-19 infections daily. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged all citizens to be vaccinated and exercise caution, saying the “storm” of diseases had shaken the country. A White House spokeswoman said the United States would immediately provide raw materials for COVID-19 vaccines, medical equipment, and protective gear to help India respond to a massive surge in COVID-19 infections.

“The United States is working around the clock to deploy available resources and supplies,” National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said in a statement. Ms. Horne said the materials would help India manufacture the Covishield vaccine. The United States would also send therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, and ventilators.

Washington was under pressure to help India, the world’s largest democracy, after Britain, France, and Germany pledged aid over the weekend.

US officials are also considering sending India its new COVID-19 vaccine doses from AstraZeneca, the top US infectious disease official Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC News on Sunday.

“That’s something that certainly is going to be actively considered,” Dr. Fauci said in an interview.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which has millions of doses, is not yet approved in the United States. Top US health officials have said they have enough doses of supported versions by three other drugmakers to inoculate all Americans in the coming weeks. The nation’s leading business lobbying group has also pushed the administration to send AstraZeneca’s vials to countries with rising cases.


The White House had no comment on the possibility of sending the AstraZeneca vaccine to India.

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen inside a car provided by a Gurdwara, a Sikh house of worship, in New Delhi, India, Saturday, April 24, 2021.


On Sunday, India’s capital New Delhi extended its lockdown as the country’s COVID-19 crisis grew, with infections and deaths hitting record highs.

The northern megacity – home to 20 million people and the worst hit in India – had imposed a week-long lockdown on Monday.

“We have decided to extend the lockdown by one week,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.

“The havoc of corona(virus) continues, and there is no respite.”

Hospitals in New Delhi have gone to the city’s high court this week, seeking to order the state and federal governments to make emergency arrangements for medical supplies, mainly oxygen.

“It’s a tsunami. How are we trying to build capacity?” the Delhi high court asked the state and federal governments in response to this plea.

India’s number of cases surged by 349,691 in the past 24 hours, the fourth straight day of record peaks, and hospitals in Delhi and across the country are turning away patients after running out of medical oxygen and beds.

“We were confident, our spirits were up after successfully tackling the first wave, but this storm has shaken the nation,” Mr. Modi said in a radio address.

Multiple funeral pyres are seen for people who died of COVID-19 in New Delhi.

Mr. Modi’s government had faced criticism for letting its guard down and allowing big religious and political gatherings when India’s cases plummeted to below 10,000 a day and did not build up the healthcare systems. Hospitals and doctors have put out urgent notices that they could not cope with the rush of patients. Reuters photographers said people arranged stretchers and oxygen cylinders outside hospitals as they desperately pleaded for authorities to take patients in.

“Every day, it the same situation, we are left with two hours of oxygen, we only get assurances from the authorities,” one doctor said on television. Outside a Sikh temple in Ghaziabad city on the outskirts of Delhi, the street resembled an emergency ward of a hospital. Still, it was crammed with cars carrying COVID-19 patients gasping for breath as they were hooked up to hand-held oxygen tanks.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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