57 lawmakers urge Biden to bolster US aid to Covid hit India

Helping India in US national interest; ask US to share with India surplus AstraZeneca vaccine.

More than 50 US lawmakers have asked President Joe Biden to bolster American assistance to India battling a second deadly coronavirus wave asserting it’s in US national interest to do so.

“As long as Covid persists in India, there is the potential for additional variants that could pose a serious threat to a vaccinated America,” warned the lawmakers led by Brad Sherman, the Democratic Chair of the Congressional India Caucus in a May 12 letter.

The letter was signed among others by all four Indian American members of the US House, Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthy and Pramila Jayapal, all Democrats.

“We are extremely concerned with regards to India’s deadly Covid-19 second wave,” they wrote noting “the sharp increase in cases has overwhelmed India’s healthcare system.”

READ: Covid crisis in India: More to do with system failure than virus itself (May 13, 2021)

Describing India as :the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the lawmakers urged Biden, “We must do our part to quell the virus everywhere it persists.”

Thanking Biden for ordering the delivery of supplies worth more than $100 million to provide urgent relief to India “reflecting the strength of the US-India relationship,” the lawmakers said, “US support for India is a testament to the seven decades of US-India health partnership.”

“Our support for India to help beat back this latest wave is in the US national interest as the pandemic will not end anywhere until it ends everywhere,” they warned.

READ: Vaccinations are the ‘end game’ to India’s Covid crisis: Fauci (May 11, 2021)

“It is also in the US interest for everyone in India to be vaccinated,” the lawmakers said hoping Biden “will work to provide India with vaccines to the extent it is possible.”

Welcoming recently announced plans to make available sources of raw materials to help India manufacture more vaccines, they also asked the US to share with India surplus doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine as soon as possible.

Based on India Caucus leadership’s talks with India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India requires several items, most notably oxygen and oxygen production equipment, they noted.

The letter requested the Administration to take immediate action to provide India with Oxygen Cylinders, 10 liters and 45 liters Liquid Medical Oxygen Capacity, Oxygen Concentrators, Oxygen Generator Plants,  Cryogenic Oxygen Tanker/Container, Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and Ventilators/BiPAP.

READ: Getting Covid in India was my life’s worst nightmare: Arjun Rao (May 10, 2021)

Describing the situation in India as “a humanitarian crisis that requires our assistance, Sherman said, “the images and stories of patients in desperate need of oxygen with nowhere to turn put a human face on India’s urgent need for this equipment.”

“As US assistance is delivered to India, we ask that you ensure the supplies are getting to those most in need,” they said thanking Biden for his support to India through this Covid crisis.

Congressional pressure on ramping up assistance to India comes amid growing concern over variants such as the B1617 and their enhanced transmissibility, resistance, and ability to circumvent vaccines.

READ MORE:

Covid surge, deaths in India ‘nothing short of heartbreaking’: Kamala Harris (May 8, 2021)

AAPI asks senators to press White House to send vaccines to India (May 7, 2021)

US firms start shipping critical Covid relief supplies to India (May 6, 2021)

US helping India significantly: Joe Biden (May 5, 2021)

Sehgal Foundation shipping oxygen concentrators to 7 Indian states (May 5, 2021)

US helping India significantly: Joe Biden (May 5, 2021)

Pfizer to donate over $70 million worth of Covid-19 drugs to India (May 3, 2021)

US pledges steadfast, ongoing support for Covid hit India (April 27, 2021)

United States offers to make vaccine ingredients available to India immediately (April 25, 2021)

Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella rushing aid to covid-hit India (April 26, 2021)

How pressure mounted on Biden administration to help India during coronavirus surge (April 25, 2021)

Vinod Khosla offers to help Indian hospitals with import of oxygen (April 24, 2021)

Covid tsunami hits India with record 332,000 daily cases (April 23, 2021)

READ: Don’t let the ‘America First’ derail India-U.S. ties (April 24, 202)

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