New Delhi: Countries across the world have failed to provide a global response that could have helped to prevent the “tragic” coronavirus crisis in India, Dr Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical advisor, has said.
In an interview to the Guardian Australia, Dr Fauci said the outbreak in India has highlighted inequality and how wealthier nations have failed to provide equal access to healthcare across the world.
“The only way 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 said.
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 has been hit hard by a second wave of coronavirus. The country is reporting a record number of daily infections. So far, India has reported the second highest number of total cases in the world at 1,79,97,267 cases and 2,01,187 deaths. It accounts for a majority of the cases reported in the last week across the world — 21,72,063 new cases.
Dr Fauci also noted that the United States has ‘revved up’ its activities to help India. The US is sending oxygen, remdesivir, PPE kits and medical supplies.
He said the World Health Organization is extending support to India through the Covax initiative, which is a global programme that aims to ensure countries in need of the vaccine receive supplies of it. But, Fauci added, “we have to do even more than that”.
“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 said.
The White House’s chief medical advisor also maintained that wealthier nations have a “responsibility” towards helping countries that don’t have adequate resources. He emphasised the need for transparency and communication between countries on their healthcare systems.