As parts of the world begin to open and large populations get vaccinated, India is suffering one of the worst COVID surges yet. It has become the “global epicenter” for the virus and there have already been more than 220,000 COVID-related deaths. Experts predict that the death rate could rise from 2,000 to 4,500 or 5,500 per day.

Scientists attribute the surge to recent religious and political “super-spreader” events. Unfortunately, they don’t believe that the surge will end soon considering the increased transmissibility of the new variants, such as B.1.617.

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Source: CNN/YouTube

India’s rapid increase in COVID cases has overwhelmed their hospitals and crematoriums. Sick individuals are being turned away from hospitals and even those who do get admitted may die as a result of the extremely low oxygen supply. Crematoriums have started melting from overuse, and thus, individuals have started having mass cremations in fields filled with wooden pyres.

The effects of this surge will be felt outside of India as well. Serum Institute, the maker of the AstraZeneca vaccine and a COVAX contributor, has stated that they will likely fall short of their international distribution goals. Furthermore, variants have the “potential ability to overcome vaccine immunity.” As explained by, Christina Pagel, the director of clinical operational research at University College London, “it’s not a coincidence that these variants are arising in populations that have developed immunity through infection.”

Recently, the US promised to send “vaccine materials, drugs, test kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment.” President Joe Biden tweeted “Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need.” The US needs to ensure that they send as many oxygen generators and vaccines as possible. Furthermore, the US needs to help convince the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive patent rights on COVID vaccination and treatment supplies so that India and other countries can produce these life-saving materials without being sued.

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It’s imperative that the US and other countries that have the pandemic somewhat under control, pitch in and help India. This is not the time to be selfish or put profit before people. It’s a time to work together to save as many lives as possible. Sign this petition to demand that the United States provide supplies without delay, including vaccines and oxygen generators! President Biden also needs to encourage the WTO to waive patent rights for the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments so production can increase without fear of legal action.

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To continue speaking up, sign these other petitions as well:

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