In Defense of VP Kamala Harris

by Bobby Reyes

Senator Kamala Harris as Candidate for Vice President of the United States | Photo by Adam Schultz / Biden for President

Part XIV of “The Filipino Melting Pot” Series

In Part XIII of this series, I mentioned that “India is the home some of the world’s largest manufacturers of vaccines.” I wrote in Part XI about the backing of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation of the world’s vaccine maker, Serum Institute of India, to churn out 100 million doses of coronavirus for poorer countries at less than $3 per dose.

And yet, CNN reported (last Wednesday, Apr. 28) that India has one million new COVID-19 cases every three days. The COVID-19 usually has a death rate of two percent (2%). CNN also featured one crematorium in New Delhi, which now cremates 600 bodies every day. (It used to cremate an average of 100 COVID dead patients every day at the height of the COVID-caused pandemic’s First Wave).

Here is the latest about the COVID-19 crisis in India.

The COVID-19 is raging unchecked in India. Sadly, at the rate vaccination is being administered to the willing persons that want to be inoculated, it may take perhaps five years to reach the number that will result in a “herd immunity.”

This week, the U.S. sent supplies worth at least $100-million onboard U.S. military aircraft — of ventilators, viral therapeutic medicines to oxygen tanks, and machines to produce oxygen plus personal-protection equipment PPEs — to India.

An American acquaintance of Asian-Indian descent and I exchanged notes on the Indian COVID-19 crisis. He blames Vice President Kamala Harris for not acting earlier to help his homeland and her mother, Shyamala Gopalan. (Mrs. Gopalan-Harris is an American biomedical scientist born in the then-British colony of India; her medical specialty is in isolating and characterizing the progesterone receptor gene’s stimulated advances in breast biology and oncology).

“Some critics say that VP Harris could have appealed much sooner to President Biden to emulate then-President Obama, who dispatched more than 3,000 American healthcare workers to West Africa to fight the epidemic at the onset of the Ebola outbreak in 2014.”

Some critics say that VP Harris could have appealed much sooner to President Biden to emulate then-President Obama, who dispatched more than 3,000 American healthcare workers to West Africa to fight the epidemic at the onset of the Ebola outbreak in 2014. The U.S. medical teams successfully led local healthcare workers in dramatically bending the curve of the Ebola epidemic. They nipped the Ebola epidemic in the bud to use an adage. It did not become a pandemic.

I told my Indian-American friend that if there were persons to blame for the Indian COVID-19 crisis, then President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi might have sowed the seeds of complacency in dealing with the pandemic. The national government of India touted that it had defeated the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 after the inaugural visit of then-President Donald J. Trump and his family. He was the guest of honor in a big event held on February 24-25, 2020, at the Narendra Modi Stadium (then known as Motera Stadium). President Trump, his family, Prime Minister Modi, and the national leaders of India were in attendance. During that visit, they capped the stadium’s capacity at 50 percent due to COVID-19 protocols. However, many of the 50-thousand or more spectators did not wear masks (perhaps in deference of the American President who hated to wear it.) Also, they did not strictly implement social distancing because the event became an Indian version of Mr. Trump’s political circus.

When the COVID-19 variant hit India and its 1.2-billion population nearly a year later after the Trump visit, all bets are off that they can contain the pandemic at all. Perhaps Prime Minister Modi might have followed the “IBOD Strategy” that I said Mr. Trump adopted in dealing tragically with the pandemic. The “IBOD,” as I coined, is the acronym for “Ignore, Blame Others and Distract” of a strategy. And it made the U.S. become the top world record when it comes to the number of COVID cases and deaths. India is now in a position to overtake the U.S. and grab the world’s record holder of tragic distinctions — thanks to a “Modi-fied” (sic) version of the Trump IBOD.

But truth to tell, the Biden Administration could have listened to our proposal made on Jan. 29, 2021, to copy what the U.S. did in the Philippines (PH) in the 1900s. This column urged President Biden to revive the American idea of establishing a Medical Center composed of a hospital, schools of medicine, nursing, and allied medical fields, and a Research and Development (R&D) Center in Manila. Here is the said article titled, Biden Can Become a ‘Super Genius’ (Part V of a ‘Biden B2B Doctrine’ for Economic Empowerment.

“This column argued that it might be cheaper to organize state-of-the-art medical centers in 50 strategic locations globally, primarily if the ethnic Americans can support one center at their former homeland.”

This column argued that it might be cheaper to organize state-of-the-art medical centers in 50 strategic locations globally, primarily if the ethnic Americans can support one center at their former homeland. For instance, the Filipino-American communities (the biggest block in the Filipino Melting Pot) earn collectively — before the pandemic — an estimated $92-billion per year. The medical facilities can deal with epidemics and pandemics, do R&D, and treat patients. The centers can also produce (even under license) more affordable vaccines, viral therapeutics, antibiotics, and other needed medicines to fight viruses and bacteria.

Or the Biden Administration could have persuaded the American vaccine manufacturers to grant the Serum Institute of India or other Indian vaccine manufacturers an emergency move. It would have led to ample vaccine supplies if the Gates Foundation and other American charitable entities had contributed to the costs of producing it.

Each medical center may cost the nations of the world at least $20-billion tops. As this column reported on Jan. 28, 2021, “According to a report in the journal Science, ‘the work essential to staying safe from another deadly virus attack, including protecting forests and monitoring wildlife trade costs $22.2 billion to $30.7 billion. But even $30 billion has nothing on what the COVID-19 pandemic will cost by the time it is done with us. The Science report estimated that the pandemic has already cost the U.S. at least $8.1 trillion. A study published in JAMA in October projected that the final cumulative financial costs of the COVID-19 pandemic would weigh in at more than $16 trillion.”

” … my friend said that “VP Harris is in a No-Win situation, as she did not listen to the counsel of her elders in the Indian-American community.”

But then my Indian-American friend insisted that VP Harris could have listened to the pleas of her mother and other mothers in the Indian-American communities. She could have traveled (even on a private visit) to India and spoke with Prime Minister Modi about adopting the “Biden Strategy” (or the suggested “Biden Back-to-Basics Doctrine”) in dealing with the pandemic. She could have persuaded the Indian national leader to call off local elections even if the voting is not postponed, not to hold massive rallies, especially without the necessary COVID-19 protocols and safety guidelines. And thus, my friend said that “VP Harris is in a No-Win situation, as she did not listen to the counsel of her elders in the Indian-American community.”

And he added that “VP Harris’s error in dealing with India’s COVID-19 nightmare may cost her presidential nomination in 2028 or even in 2024, if Mr. Biden does not want to seek re-election.”

He would not listen to my argument that VP Harris does not run the U.S. federal government, as she is just the dignified equivalent of the President’s alter ego. Perhaps President Biden and VP Harris sent personal or private messages to Prime Minister Modi, who turned down American leaders. But then he said that my educated guess is as good as his.

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