Warner Meets Indo-American Community Amid Worries About Virus Wave In India | News

As India experiences a spate of coronavirus cases and deaths, Americans, including residents of Loudoun County, are trying to find ways to help family members and friends across the globe. world.

US Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) Joined more than a dozen members of the Indo-American community on Friday in Ashburn to discuss the current health crisis in India.

India is one of three countries to have more than 290,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine. The United States has the most, with more than 580,000 lives lost to the virus.

“Whether it is India, whether it is Jordan, whether it is Jamaica, there are a number of countries that have none with the level of human suffering that is going on right now than India,” Warner said.

Warner listened to concerns and ideas during a panel discussion at Rupa Vira’s The Signature Celebration in Ashburn with community and business leaders from Loudoun County. The Asian community represents 20.4% of the county’s population in 2019, according to the U.S. census.

Last month Warner and his colleague US Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), the co-chairs of the Indian Senate caucus, urged President Joe Biden (D) in a letter to redouble efforts to support countries hard affected such as India with excess medical supplies and vaccines due to the upsurge in coronavirus infections, according to Warner’s office.

Shortly after Warner and Cornyn’s intervention, the United States delivered $ 100 million in supplies to India, including oxygen equipment and vaccine manufacturing supplies to support frontline workers. . US aid has reached more than 9.7 million Indians, according to the White House.

India and the United States have worked together for more than 70 years to fight epidemics, advance health security and fight tuberculosis since 1988.

However, since the delivery, residents and business owners at Friday’s roundtable said they were concerned about how those resources are being allocated.

Vinai K. Thummalapally, the first Indo-American ambassador to the United States, said that one idea to address the issue was for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to appoint a coordinator. USAID’s mission is focused on saving lives, reducing poverty, strengthening democratic governance, and helping people move beyond assistance around the world.

“There is no lack of will and commitment. It’s a question of coordination and you will see it. [USAID] is well placed with the ability, the experience, and they know how to handle it, ”Thummalapally said.

Indian Embassy Minister of Community Affairs Anurag Kumar echoed the belief that relief coordination is important. He said everyone had felt the impact of the crisis “in one way or another”.

Others said they needed more transparency to see how resources were channeled around the world, and urged the federal government to send unused personal protective equipment to India.

Kavita Challa, chair of the Telangana Development Forum, coordinated COVID-19 support to rural India, Warner’s office told The Times-Mirror.

Kavita Challa told the group: “We are trying in different ways to save lives. “

Priyank Vira, co-owner of Celebration by Rupa Vira, said it is also important to raise awareness and educate people living in India about vaccines. He said there was still some hesitation in the country.

“The crisis is not over. He’s still there, ”Vira said.

Of the. Suhas Subramanyam (D-87th), who represents parts of Loudoun and Prince William counties, said he had also been affected by the increase in the number of cases and deaths in India.

He said that while India is an important ally of the United States, the country is of personal importance to many of its constituents. Subramanyam hoped health issues in India would have improved before Friday’s roundtable.

Instead, he said the opposite had happened, with only around 2% of the population having been vaccinated.

“The vaccination rates are very low [in India]”Subramanyam said.” The data says one thing, but I think it’s a lot worse. There are a lot of underreported people who are affected, who contract COVID or who die, and so there are still a lot of work to do. ”

Warner said the United States has provided 80 million doses of vaccine to India, which is good considering the need, but “it’s just a drop in the ocean,” he said. he declares. Warner has said he is urging more US companies to contribute funding to help India tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

“The support for India is wide and very deep in the Senate and I know India will come out of it,” Warner said. “India has tremendous resilience, but I think it’s going to be the next three or four very difficult months. “

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