Devex Newswire: Inside the US response to India’s COVID-19 crisis

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Hi, I’m Brussels Correspondent Vince Chadwick filling in for my colleague Michael Igoe. Today, all eyes are on India’s COVID-19 outbreak, which yesterday registered 352,991 new cases and more than 2,800 deaths in 24 hours.

The U.S. has agreed to deploy a team of USAID and CDC staffers to India to work with the government and local partners in addressing the surge of COVID-19 cases.

• The U.S. will divert its own order of certain vaccine raw materials to the Serum Institute of India to aid with production. It’s also expected to begin sharing its estimated 60 million stockpiled doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine — which hasn’t been approved for use in the U.S. — with other nations, pending a safety review.

• On a call with U.S. President Joe Biden Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly asked about waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines.

• With 1 in every 2 COVID-19 tests in Kolkata coming up positive, I ask Amruta Byatnal to describe the situation in Delhi. “It's been heartbreaking to say the least,” Amruta writes back. “Several hospitals have had to issue SOS calls saying their oxygen supply is running out. Doctors I'm speaking to are helpless and frustrated. I've never been in a conflict situation — but this feels like one. Everyone is on their own, really.”

Read: US to deploy 'strike team' to aid in India's COVID-19 response

CLEAR THINKING

More cars for a growing middle class, untrained mechanics, and a lack of public transport are all thought to be part of Africa’s growing air pollution problem, but the biggest challenge could be a lack of data, Anca Gurzu reports.

• Deaths in Africa from outdoor air pollution increased by almost 60% between 1990 and 2017.

• About 6% of African children lived near an air quality monitor in 2019, compared to 72% in Europe and North America.

“You need data to reduce emissions and know what to tackle first,” environmental sciences professor Raphael Arku says. “This is missing due to a lack of funding, lack of expertise, and lack of political commitment.”

Read: Africa’s air quality problem: Old cars and no data

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BANK FOR YOUR BUCK

This week, I’m keeping an eye on EU development ministers who are meeting to discuss how the European Investment Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development can boost their development impact

The question has occupied some great minds since Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron added it to a June 2018 communiqué. Problem is, that was the last anyone heard from the two leaders on the subject. Devex Pro subscribers can read my analysis of EU states’ planned instructions for the banks, but how the banks (and their shareholders) will interpret those instructions is still unclear.

Join us: Raj Kumar and a group of CEOs will discuss the changes crypto is wreaking on finance in developing markets on LinkedIn at 9 a.m. ET (3 p.m. CET).  

BETTER INOCULATE THAN NEVER

Countries around the world are struggling to roll out COVID-19 vaccine campaigns. But other immunizations are being affected by the pandemic as well, according to a recent WHO survey:

• 60 mass immunization campaigns are currently postponed in 50 countries. That leaves 228 million people, mostly children, at risk of preventable diseases.

• Those disruptions have spurred recent outbreaks of measles in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, and Yemen — and WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says more similar events can be expected.

• Beyond that, about 1 in 5 countries report disruptions in the provision of life-saving emergency, critical, and operative care interventions, and two-thirds say the pandemic has delayed elective surgeries.

Read: 60 immunization campaigns postponed in 50 countries, WHO data shows

LADDER OF SUCCESS

Need to know the latest executive job moves at USAID, World Bank, the U.N., and Amnesty International? Jenny Lei Ravelo has the rundown for Pro subscribers.

IN OTHER NEWS:

Chad’s military council has named an interim prime minister after the death of President Idriss Deby on April 19. [Al Jazeera]

The EU is suing AstraZeneca for providing less than half the COVID-19 vaccine doses it signed a deal for. [BBC]

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced $310 million in additional aid to address food insecurity in Northern Triangle countries. [CNN]

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About the author

  • Vince Chadwick

    Vince Chadwick is the Brussels Correspondent for Devex. He covers the EU institutions, member states, and European civil society. A law graduate from Melbourne, Australia, he was social affairs reporter for The Age newspaper, before moving to Europe in 2013. He covered breaking news, the arts and public policy across the continent, including as a reporter and editor at POLITICO Europe.