Dr Anthony Fauci (file photo) Photograph:( AFP )
India has been severely affected by the unprecedented second wave of the coronavirus and hospitals in several states are reeling under the shortage of health workers, vaccines, oxygen, drugs and beds
India made the 'incorrect assumption' that it was finished with the COVID-19 pandemic and opened up prematurely that has left the country in such 'dire straits', America's top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has told senators.
India has been severely affected by the unprecedented second wave of the coronavirus and hospitals in several states are reeling under the shortage of health workers, vaccines, oxygen, drugs and beds.
"The reason that India is in such dire straits now is that they had an original surge and made the incorrect assumption that they were finished with it, and what happened, they opened up prematurely and wind up having a surge right now that we're all very well aware of is extremely devastating," Fauci told the Senate Health, Education, Labour and Pensions Committee during a hearing on Tuesday on the COVID-19 response.
Dr Fauci, who is the Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is also the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden.
Chairing the hearing, Senator Patty Murray said that the surge of COVID-19 that is devastating India is a painful reminder really that the US can't end the pandemic here until it ends it everywhere.
"I'm glad the Biden administration is leading that global fight by rejoining the World Health Organization and funding global vaccine efforts and committing to donate 60 million AstraZeneca vaccines to other countries by July 4," she said.
"India's outbreak underscores the need for a robust public health infrastructure in the US to respond appropriately to this pandemic and future outbreaks, as well," Senator Murray said as she asked Fauci what can the US learn from India's outbreak.
"One of the important things is don't ever underestimate the situation," Fauci said as he referred to India's incorrect assumption and premature opening up.
(With inputs from agencies)