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Friday, June 18, 2021

The crisis in India is our crisis too

We can do more on a national and individual level to support people in India and those of Indian descent in our local communities

As things start to slowly progress to a version of life before the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., it can be easy to fail to pay attention to other countries who are struggling so much more. India is currently dealing with a deadly wave of COVID-19, with a daily average of nearly 400,000 cases and over 3,000 deaths. 

As members of a publication, we know how important it is to stay informed and how important our job is in keeping people informed. We believe news organizations in the U.S. need to do a better job at reporting on the deadly outbreak in India and that they need to refrain from the use of traumatic photos, as consistent exposure to such photos in the media leads to desensitization. Members of the American public should not need to see graphic images in order to feel empathy for the catastrophe Indians are currently facing. Although we are only a campus newspaper, we are holding ourselves to the same standard by reporting on how the outbreak has been affecting UC Davis students and professors in India or with family there.

We believe professors need to be incredibly accommodating to students who are coping with the ramifications of this crisis and we hope students extend the same courtesy to any professors who are or have family in India. Chancellor Gary May’s statement on the outbreak in India encourages such communication, and we believe professors need to take the first step to open a dialogue with their students and reassure them that accommodations are available for those in need.

Countries around the world need to provide as much help as they can in the form of medical supplies and vaccines. The U.S., U.K., EU and Pakistan have committed to sending supplies like ventilators and oxygen concentrators, but we believe they need to be sending more supplies, including vaccines. 

The U.S. has a stockpile of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which it has not yet approved for use, and President Joe Biden has announced the U.S. plans to donate 60 million doses to countries in need, but India is in urgent need of vaccines now as thousands are dying and hundreds of thousands are getting infected each day. 

It is a privilege to turn down a vaccine—30% of the American public is currently not planning on getting a COVID-19 vaccine—when only about 2% of India’s population has had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated. The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis, and when one country is struggling to contain an outbreak, all countries are affected. Our government needs to act much more quickly in this crisis where timing is so important, especially because the vaccines take several weeks to provide immunity. 

There are also things you can do on an individual basis. Check in on your friends and professors of Indian descent and offer support where you can. If you have the means to donate money, you can do so through international organizations like UNICEF, PATH, the International Medical Corps, Care India, the Association for India’s Development, Project HOPE, Give.asia and Americares or through organizations in India like the Indian Red Cross Society and Ketto. Locally, multiple UC Davis organizations are collaborating to create a fundraiser to support organizations providing aid. India needs your help and your Indian community members need your support.
Written by: The Editorial Board

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