rudd15_Imtiyaz KhanAnadolu Agency via Getty Images_indiacovid Imtiyaz Khan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Our Responsibility to South Asia

Future generations will remember what the world did, or failed to do, in the face of South Asia's devastating second wave of the virus. India and its neighbors desperately need more vaccines, oxygen, and other supplies, and it is in everyone else's interest to provide them as fast as possible.

BRISBANE – Almost one-quarter of humanity lives on the Indian subcontinent. That fact is easily forgotten elsewhere, as world leaders focus on combating outbreaks of COVID-19 and its new variants within their own countries. But when our descendants pass judgment on this moment in history, they won’t remember just the lockdowns, face masks, and vaccination programs. They will also remember India and its neighbors.

They will remember how human remains have been found bloated and decomposing on the banks of the sacred River Ganges; how bodies had to be left in the heat outside crematoria, owing to a lack of wood for funerary pyres. They will remember how hospitals ran low on oxygen, medication, and hospital beds, while people lined up outside emergency departments and clinics begging for someone to save their loved ones.

All of this will be seared in memory and history. Beyond inflicting agony on the sick, the coronavirus outbreak in the world’s most populous democracy is now robbing victims of their dignity in death, too.

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