The chief US expert on the Covid-19 pandemic, Anthony Fauci, has said that the “dire situation” that has now arisen in India after it initially seemed to have avoided the worst impact shows that no country is safe from a global pandemic, and climate and youth are not protections against it.
Fauci said at a White House briefing on Friday that early on, when lower- and middle-income countries didn’t have as many infections, “people would say, ‘Maybe there’s something special about climate, about this, about the youth'”.
“What this (surge) is telling us — in Africa and in India — (is) that when you have a global pandemic, it is a global pandemic and there are no countries that are really safe from it,” said Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s medical adviser.
He said that India needed the vaccines although variants of the Covid-19 virus have developed in India and the efficacy of vaccines against them has to be studied.
“They have a situation there where there are variants that have arisen. We have not yet fully characterised the variants and the relationship between the ability of the vaccines to protect, but we’re assuming, clearly, that they need vaccines,” Fauci said.
“They need to get their people vaccinated because that’s the only way we’re going to turn that around,” he added.
He said that the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), the main US medical agency, is consulting with India and giving technical assistance.
White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Dunston Zients said, “India demonstrates the risk of what can happen if we don’t get the pandemic under control everywhere.”
(Arul Louis can be reached at email@example.com and followed @arulouis)