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LETTERS

Will US heed the distress signal of COVID crises abroad?

People await laboratory results at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu County, Kenya, on June 14. The pandemic is worsening in Africa as more contagious variants spread, vaccinations lag, and hospitals in some places are pushed beyond their limits.BRIAN OTIENO/NYT

Global Health Security Act would bring foreign aid to the fore

After reading the June 23 news article “COVID surge in Africa raises fears of calamity like India’s,” I felt compelled to respond.

This month, President Biden authorized the sending of 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to 92 lower-income nations and the African Union. This latest headline represents a call to action and suggests that the United States and other higher-income nations must do more to aid countries in dire need of critical health care infrastructure and material. Africa’s fight with the pandemic is far from over, and the virus is surging in many countries where vaccination rates are lagging severely and where public health and safety measures are lacking.

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Specifically, the United States should work to pass the Global Health Security Act in Congress, which would make US health aid to developing nations a hallmark of our foreign policy and would drastically increase and enhance the preparedness and resilience of target nations to future pandemics and global health crises. It also would provide concrete policy recommendations that would ensure adequate and symbiotic development along medical fronts in these nations, which would reduce death rates, including those by preventable diseases, as well as childhood mortality rates.

The developing world desperately needs this type of assistance. The crisis in Africa brought on by COVID-19 and inadequate disease-prevention responses and access to vaccines solidifies the need for the United States to act.

Ian McGrail

Georgetown


US can do far more for the developing world

I was inspired by the article “COVID surge in Africa raises fears of calamity like India’s,” and appreciated it as a reminder to Americans that the pandemic is not over. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of foreign aid to developing nations. If the United States were to allocate more funding and dedicate additional personnel toward humanitarian projects abroad, we could curtail the impact of the next crisis on the level of COVID-19.

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Some projects that could save lives in a future African crisis are broad and proactive, such as installing network cables that allow for rapid and reliable communication. Others are short-term and reactive, such as donating personal desks that could make social distancing more feasible than the central tables used in many African schools.

The United States can do far more for the developing world than it does now. Indeed, research has shown that many Americans vastly overestimate our spending on foreign aid. An increase in the international affairs budget could save untold amounts of money by improving the global economy and preventing future crises from spiraling out of control.

Sawyer Lachance

Kennebunkport, Maine


With variant spreading, lack of vaccines remains a key factor

It is great to see that more than 4.1 million people have been fully vaccinated in Massachusetts, representing 60.3 percent of the state. More than half of all vaccine-eligible Americans have received both doses. However, what is going on in other countries is worrisome. As a second-generation Indian American, I’ve been heartbroken to see the devastation going on in my home country, where many are sick and families have been devastated. The lack of available vaccines is a contributing factor.

Now, with a new Delta variant spreading, we need to do more as a country to help supply and send more vaccines to other nations. The more people who are fully vaccinated globally, the better we can do in the fight against this COVID-19 variant. We can save thousands of lives around the world, if not millions, if we send more vaccines to developing countries. As one of the wealthiest nations in the world, it is our responsibility to help others in dire situations.

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Abhi Ramesh

Acton