The second wave of COVID-19 in India is a tragedy, US Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy has said, underlining the need for countries to help each other during the crisis.
"If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it's that we need each other to get through this pandemic. As a world, we need each other in terms of countries to step up to help make sure that the world has an adequate supply of vaccine, to ensure people have treatments available, supply of PPE because the threat of COVID in any part of the world is ultimately a threat to every country," Indian-American Murthy told a news channel in an interview.
To a question on the current COVID crisis in India and if the US might face a similar situation, Murthy hoped that it never happens.
"But it is always a possibility and that we have to be mindful of. And I'm cautiously optimistic that we will do well in this country, especially if we keep up our efforts at the vaccination campaign," he said on Thursday.
"What's happening in India is a tragedy. And India has two challenges or has many challenges, but in terms of their variants, it has to B117 variant, which is the predominant one circulating here, which we know is at least 50 per cent or more contagious than the variant we were dealing with last year in the US," Murthy said.
The 617 variant of the deadly virus may or may not be more transmissible, he said, adding that doctors are still trying to understand it.
"It's just what they do. But they can't mutate, if they're not spreading, if they're not replicating within people. That's why we got to work hard. Just remember, this is not an effort that one person can take care of on their own or one country on its own," said the Indian-American surgeon general.