Washington: Top US public health expert and White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr Anthony Fauci recommended India a national lockdown, massive COVID-19 vaccination drive and the construction of a large number of makeshift hospitals, amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis across the nation.
“It is quite obvious to everyone that the situation in India is extremely serious,” Dr Anthony Fauci told PTI in an exclusive interview.
“When you have so many people getting infected the lack of the capability to take adequate care of everyone; when you have shortages of hospital beds and oxygen and shortages of supplies, that really becomes a very desperate situation. Which is the reason why we feel it’s important for the rest of the world to help out, to the extent they can,” Fauci said.
“Keeping a close tab on developments in India, given that US President Joe Biden has geared up the administration to help India, The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said there are certain things that India can do immediately, mid-term and long-term basis.”
“First of all right now, they should start getting as many people vaccinated as they possibly can, with both the vaccines that they develop themselves in India as well as supplies of vaccines that they may be able to procure from other suppliers, be that the United States, be that Russia whatever country is willing whenever companies are willing to supply vaccine,” Dr Fauci added.
Nevertheless, getting someone “vaccinated now” does not solve today’s issue, Anthony noted, while adding that it helps prevent a problem for the next few weeks from now.
“But the solution immediately right now is, and I know India is already doing it, so I’m not telling you something that you are not already doing. A few days ago, I recommended and I believe at least parts of India are doing it, that you shut down the country in lockdown, he said.
“Because other countries, including for example what China did last year, what Australia did when they had an outbreak, what New Zealand did, what other countries did is to completely lock down for a relatively limited period of time. You don’t have to lock down for six months. You can lock down for a few weeks.
“Because when you walk down, it is well known, with the experience of other countries that locking down, definitely interferes with the dynamics of the viral outbreak and you could interfere with the continuity and the transmission of infection,” Dr Fauci said.
The top US public health expert also suggested India of taking the help of the armed forces to immediately contruct makeshift field hospitals.
“You will recall, last year when China had a very serious problem, they marshalled their resources to very, very rapidly build new hospitals, to be able to handle all the people who required hospitalisation,” he said.
While take note of media reports, he also added that there is a drastic shortage of hospital beds and people are being taken care of in makeshift arrangements.
“So, it would be possible, perhaps, with the help of your own military, to put up field hospitals as you would do as if in a war time setting, so that people who are sick and require a hospital bed, will have a hospital bed,” he said.
“Perhaps, the Indian government is already doing that,” he noted.
Fauci also added that India often helps other nations in emergency situations.
“Given the fact that India is under such terrible stress right now with the extent of the outbreak, the rest of the world should pitch in to help them, similar to what the United States is doing,” he said.
“We are very sorry that India is going through this very, very difficult time,” he said.