A True Global Pandemic: the World’s Response to India’s COVID-19 Crisis
Almost one and a half years after the start of the pandemic, the United States has begun to loosen its national COVID-19 restrictions due to a drop in cases. However, we face a more significant dilemma globally-- the resurgence of infections and deaths in India. While President Biden announced the end of the mask mandate, increased building capacities, and a decline in regulations in spring, India faced up to 350,000 new COVID cases per day at its peak in May of 2021. Since June, the numbers have dropped to about 200-150,000 per day, but the pandemic’s devastation by no means is diminishing. In fact, there is a critical shortage of beds, oxygen, medications, and supplies to tend to their sick, leading to around 350,000 deaths a day from this disease, per Worldometer’s statistics (see graph).
Due to this, there is an increase in the global response to support India’s crisis. However, as Americans rush to be vaccinated, countries such as India do not have access to these same formulas to help alleviate the problem. While America’s vaccination rate has reached 42.6% this June, India’s is currently only 5.9%. To help bridge the gap in vaccination rates globally, New York Times notes that in early April President Biden pledged “up to 60 million AstraZeneca doses from its stockpile with other countries in the coming months, so long as they clear a safety review being conducted by the Food and Drug Administration.” This is just one example of how the US responded to the growing COVID cases under the Biden Administration. The lack of vaccinations within India results from the government’s actions and a primary cause of the alarming death rate.
The United States is not the only country helping quell India’s “second wave;” countries in the European Union, Asia, and even neighboring Pakistan have also pledged aid. Unfortunately, even with the overwhelming response from the world, it is not enough to keep up with India’s large population. To make matters worse, the disease presents itself in new strains that can infect those vaccinated, which are both not studied thoroughly and even more deadly. With the risk that vaccinated individuals can become ill, a crisis is unavoidable. The demand for supplies exceeds the help gained, even with the international response.
It’s important to note that although global aid results from governmental cooperation and diplomacy, the need is much more humanitarian. In cities like Mumbai, hundreds of citizens are turned away daily due to limited vaccinations and the distribution of life-saving treatments. As a result, people turn to social media to share information about patients and hospitals alike, posting about bed openings or the information and blood types of those desperately needing oxygen. It’s become commonplace to use Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to publicize local details because the government cannot keep up with everyone on a town-by-town basis. This is devastating to not only more impoverished neighborhoods in large cities but rural areas alike. For the residents suffering from little help, Covid aid is not political nor partisan-- it’s essential.
Mishra, Manas Mishra, and Tanvi Mehta. “Indian Panel Says Global Response Needed to Contain More Infectious Virus Variant.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 4 June 2021, www.reuters.com/world/india/india-posts-daily-rise-132364-new-covid-19-cases-2021-06-04/.
Schmall, Emily, and Karan Deep Singh. “Amid Second Covid Wave, World Responds to India's Distress Call.” India's Covid Crisis, The New York Times, 26 Apr. 2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/04/26/world/asia/india-covid-vaccine-world-response.html.
Schnirring, Lisa. “India's COVID-19 Crisis Prompts Global Response.” Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota, 26 Apr. 2021, www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/04/indias-covid-19-crisis-prompts-global-response.
“India.” Worldometer, Independent Researchers- Dover, Delaware, U.S.A., 8 June 2021, www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/india/.