Vice President Harris: ‘We will do everything possible to help India’

May 11, 2021

The U.S. government, the private sector and the American people are rallying together to deliver emergency assistance as quickly as possible to India as it battles COVID-19.

“We will do everything possible to help India,” Vice President Harris told an audience of Indian diaspora communities May 7.

Speaking of her Indian heritage and her family members in India, Harris called the recent surge of COVID-19 infections and deaths “heartbreaking.”

“As soon as the dire nature of the situation became apparent, we took action,” said Harris.  After speaking with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 26, President Biden directed the U.S. government to respond immediately to India’s request for help.

In just six days, the U.S. government committed $100 million in assistance to combat the crisis and sent six planes to India to deliver lifesaving supplies, including:

  • 20,000 courses of remdesivir (125,000 vials) to treat critically ill patients.
  • Nearly 1,500 oxygen cylinders, which can be repeatedly refilled at local supply centers.
  • Nearly 550 mobile oxygen concentrators, which produce lifesaving oxygen.
  • 210 pulse oximeters to measure oxygen levels in a patient’s blood to determine whether a higher level of care is needed.
  • A large-scale oxygen generating system to provide oxygen to treat 20 or more patients at a time.
  • 1 million rapid diagnostic tests to quickly identify COVID-19 cases.
  • Nearly 2.5 million N95 masks to protect health care professionals and frontline workers.

The deliveries are the result of a whole-of-government effort led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in cooperation with the U.S. departments of Defense, State, and Health and Human Services, as well as National Airlines and United Airlines. In addition to the federal government, individual U.S. states — such as California — are also sending donations to India as part of these and other shipments.

This emergency assistance builds on the United States’ 70-year development partnership with India, and USAID’s ongoing response efforts in India since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beyond the U.S. government, Indian Americans — and many other Americans — are donating medical supplies and cash grants to help families, hospitals and civil society partners in India.

Harris expressed gratitude for the help India provided when Americans faced a surge in COVID-19 cases last year. “And today,” she said, “we are determined to help India in its hour of need.”

During the event, senior State Department official Ervin Massinga said the department is acutely aware of the growth of the pandemic in Nepal and other countries in South and Central Asia and is working to assess the evolving situation in each country to effectively address the needs.