World has failed India, people are dying: White House’s chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci
Breaking silence, White House’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has said the world has failed to provide an adequate response to prevent the tragic coronavirus outbreak from overwhelming India.
In an interview with The Guardian Australia, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the situation in India has highlighted global inequality.
“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. 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,” he said.
India recorded 360,960 new cases in the 24 hours to Wednesday morning according to health ministry data, another new daily global record. The ministry also said that India’s total number of fatalities had passed 200,000 to stand at 201,187.
The latest epidemiological update from the World Health Organization (WHO) issued on Tuesday said Covid-19 cases increased globally for the ninth consecutive week, with nearly 5.7m new cases reported. India accounts for the majority of cases, with 2,172,063 new cases reported in the past week – a 52% increase.
Fauci said while WHO was trying to accelerate support to India through the Covax initiative – a global program aimed at ensuring countries most in need get access to vaccines and other treatments – “we have to do even more than that”.
“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,” he said.
He said rich countries need to assume the responsibility because people are dying as there’s not enough oxygen, of 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. 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,” he said
Asked whether the situation in India and elsewhere, such as in Papua New Guinea, meant the world would struggle to ever contain Covid, Fauci responded: “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.”
Fauci said the evolving situation meant he “can’t even begin to think” of a life and career beyond responding to the pandemic. While the rapidtherapid pace of the vaccination program in the US has seen a reduction of new infections, there were nonetheless 406,000 new cases reported in the US in the past week – a 15% decrease from the week prior.
“This is such an important and challenging situation we’re dealing with right now,” Fauci said. “I’m devoting all of my attention, all of my energy, 24/7, on trying to get control of this terrible outbreak that we’re experiencing, not only here in the United States, but throughout the world.”