SACRAMENTO – California is sending “life-saving oxygen equipment” to India to help the country contend with a devastating surge in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday.
As early as Tuesday, the state will ship out 440 oxygen cylinders, 275 oxygen concentrators, 240 oxygen regulators, 210 pulse oximeters and one deployable oxygen concentrator system, or DOCs, the governor’s press office said in a statement.
“When communities across the world need help, California steps up. As we surpass 28 million vaccinations and continue to see the lowest positivity rates in the country, we must meet this moment with compassion by aiding those that are hardest hit by this pandemic,” Newsom said.
“Everyone deserves quality medical treatment against this terrible disease, and California will answer the call and provide aid to the people of India who so desperately need it,” he added.
On Monday, India set another record for coronavirus infections for a fifth day in a row at more than 350,000, the Associated Press reported. Oxygen is running out, intensive care units are operating at full capacity and nearly all ventilators are in use, leading some doctors in the country to post desperate calls for help on social media.
“Please send oxygen to us,” Dr. Gautam Singh said in one video. “My patients are dying.”
On Monday, the country reported 2,812 more deaths, with roughly 117 Indian residents succumbing to the disease every hour, according to the Associated Press. The new infections brought India’s total to more than 17.3 million, behind only the United States.
California’s contributions come as part of a wider effort by the United States to fight the spread of COVID-19 in India. The Biden administration on Sunday pledged to provide more medical aid to the country, including raw materials to manufacture the AstraZeneca vaccine, test kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment.
“Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need,” President Joe Biden tweeted.
Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need. t.co/SzWRj0eP3y
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 25, 2021
The U.S. Agency for International Development is coordinating the distribution of the supplies from California, which will be provided directly to health care providers and front-line workers, according to the statement from the governor’s press office.
Even while providing supplies to India, California “still maintains a robust state stockpile to respond to any additional outbreaks that may occur within the state,” the press office said. The state previously loaned ventilators to Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada and Delaware, as well as sent millions of items of personal protective equipment to neighboring states along the West Coast.
Check back for updates.