President Biden said he's in touch with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the country battles a stunning Covid-19 surge and said it is his "intention" to eventually send vaccines to India.
"With regard to India, I spoke at length with Modi, the prime minister. We are sending immediately a whole series of help that he needs, including providing for those remdesivir and other drugs that are able to deal with this and prevent in some cases but help recovery," Biden said in White House remarks.
"Secondly, we are sending the actual mechanical parts that are needed for the machinery they have to build a vaccine. And that's being done as well. We're also discussing —I've discussed with him when we'll be able to send actual vaccines to India, which will be my intention to do," he added.
Biden also noted that when the US was "in a bind in the very beginning, India helped us."
Some background: India's Covid-19 pandemic has been spiraling in recent weeks, and daily cases have been rising continuously for the past 10 days. On Monday, India reported 352,991 new cases, breaking yet another record for the highest single-day figure globally.
In total, India has reported more than 17.6 million cases since the pandemic began last year. But the real number, experts fear, could be up to 30 times higher — meaning more than half a billion cases.
On the ground, these numbers translate to heart wrenching tragedy. Photos show grieving families dressed in full protective suits at mass cremations, performing last rites surrounded by dozens of other burning funeral pyres. Hospitals have run out of basic medical supplies, with many patients dying due to oxygen shortages. Family members are driving from clinic to clinic, frantically searching for open intensive care unit beds for their loved ones.