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US flying transport planes with supplies to COVID-stricken India, Biden security official says

Ground staff unloads COVID-19 relief supplies from the U.S. at the Indira Gandhi International Airport cargo terminal in New Delhi , India, on April 30, 2021.

PRAKASH SINGH/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES/TNS

By ELLEN WULFHORST | New York Daily News | Published: May 3, 2021

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(Tribune News Service) — The U.S. has sent a number of large military transport planes loaded with supplies, including desperately needed oxygen, to India for its lethal battle against COVID-19, a top security official said Sunday.

India is home to more than a third of the world's new COVID-19 cases, according to U.S. officials, and that grim tally soared to a new peak Saturday, with 401,993 cases recorded after a 10-day stretch of more than 300,000 daily cases.

Overwhelmed hospitals are turning away sick patients, with supplies of oxygen and medicine running low, and skies are smoke-filled from crematoriums working around the clock to burn the bodies of victims.

The U.S. has sent India multiple military plane loads of supplies, including oxygen, medicine and raw materials for vaccines, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on ABC News' "This Week With George Stephanopoulos."

The U.S. also is scouring global sources for more supplies and enlisting international partners in the effort, he said.

"We're proud of what we've done so far," Sullivan said. "In a crisis of this speed and ferocity, we always wish we could move faster and do more."

Experts caution that an outbreak as big as India's raises the threat of more variants and the fear they could be resistant to current vaccines.

The U.S is restricting travel from India as of Tuesday, banning most non-U.S. citizens from entering the country.

India, a nation of more than 1.3 billion people caught in a second wave of the pandemic, has had more than 215,000 COVID-19 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center.

Infections in India have been on a treacherous upward path since the beginning of April, and some experts have blamed large, unrestricted political rallies and mass religious gatherings for the devastation.

The subcontinental Asian giant has been the world's biggest producer of COVID-19 vaccines, but shortages have stymied its domestic vaccination plans. Only 2% of its population is fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins.


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