- The Washington Times - Friday, April 30, 2021

A pair of military planes loaded with COVID-19 aid left the U.S. late Thursday for India as the Asian country battles an unprecedented viral surge that is depleting oxygen supplies and bringing the health system to the brink of collapse.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said a military assistance flight left Travis Air Force Base in California at 8 p.m. Thursday with 200 small oxygen cylinders, over 220 large oxygen cylinders, regulators and pulse oximeters, 184,000 rapid diagnostic tests and 84,000 N95 masks.

A second flight left at midnight with 17 large oxygen cylinders.

“Both planes landed in India today. More will come,” Ms. Psaki told reporters en route to Philadelphia.

Ms. Psaki said Secretary of State Tony Blinken called his counterpart in India to discuss the aid and detail the “outpouring of support” from companies and private citizens in the U.S.

“We will continue to communicate with India about their needs,” she said.

India is setting daily global records with over 350,000 cases per day. There are widespread reports of people dying at home because families cannot find hospital space or oxygen to keep patients alive.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi faces rising anger, as critics say he failed to use a period of calm earlier in the global pandemic to prepare for a surge.

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