Indian groups in US hail Biden-Harris victory, setting up of COVID-19 task force

Yoshita Singh
·3-min read

New York, Nov 9 (PTI) Leading Indian diaspora and advocacy organisations in the US are hailing the victories of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, saying they are encouraged by their plans to combat the coronavirus pandemic, including by setting up a task force that will be co-chaired by Indian-American former surgeon general Dr Vivek Murthy.

The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (APPI), the largest ethnic medical organisation in the country, congratulated Biden and Harris on their historic win.

President of AAPI Dr Sudhakar Jonnalgadda said the current times are “critical” for the nation and “the members of the medical fraternity are encouraged” by Biden’s plans to create a federal COVID-19 task force and his pledge to set up a pandemic Testing Board to “produce and distribute tens of millions of tests.” Murthy was on Monday named as one of the three co-chairs of the COVID-19 Advisory Board that will guide Biden on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 236,000 lives in the country.

Indians for Biden National Council National Director Sanjeev Joshipura described the victory as a remarkable moment in America's history.

“The Biden-Harris victory, which sees the unseating of an incumbent president, has seen unprecedented voter turnout and nation-wide celebrations this weekend, showing just how much was at stake in this election,” Joshipura said.

He said that Indians for Biden National Council was privileged to contribute to this historic moment.

“It is clear, even from early numbers, that our community played a critical role in swing states both as part of the electorate and with impactful voter mobilisation efforts,” he said.

Indians for Biden National Council made between 7,000 to 8,000 calls to “Desi voters” in battleground states by partnering with South Asians for Biden in the critical weeks before the election.

President-Elect of AAPI Dr Anupama Gotimukula said Harris has “made history by being elected to be the first-ever woman to become the Vice President of the United States.” Referring to her Indian origins, Gotimukula described the election of Harris as “inspiring and is of immense pride for all Indian-Americans.” While voicing appreciation for Biden’s plan to set up a nationwide contact-tracing programme, Dr. Ravi Kolli, Vice President of AAPI, said it is heartening that “esteemed' AAPI member Murthy will be the co-chair of the Presidential Panel on COVID-19.

AAPI said the US death toll from COVID-19 continues to climb and is likely to worsen as colder temperatures drives Americans indoors and case counts go up.

“We at AAPI will continue to work hard to provide the best of care to all those who need,” said Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, Secretary of AAPI.

There are about 80,000 practicing Indian American physicians who are at the forefront of fighting COVID-19 pandemic in the US. In addition, there are around 40,000 medical students, residents, and fellows of Indian-origin in this country who are supporting many of the hospitals affected by the pandemic.

“Physicians of Indian-origin have been in the front lines during the pandemic, risking their lives every day and we look forward to continue to serve nation under the new Presidency led by Biden,” said Dr Satheesh Kathula, Treasurer of AAPI.

Jonnalagadda said that AAPI has helped and is continuing to help the communities during COVID-19 pandemic.

AAPI had written letters to the current president's office for universal masking, social distancing and to lockdown the country or to have a 'shelter in place' during the initial phase of the pandemic to prevent its spread.

AAPI also raised funds to buy personal protective equipment and donated to several AAPI chapters across the country. The organisation conducted close to 100 webinars to educate doctors and community members about CVOID-19. PTI YAS CPS