The bicameral Nullifying Opportunities for Variants to Infect and Decimate (NOVID) Act, which Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthy and Senator Jeff Merkley introduced earlier this month, has got whole-hearted backing of the Indian-American community. The act is meant to expand America’s international coronavirus prevention and vaccination efforts.
“Despite the progress made at home, the coronavirus is devastating other parts of the world, and these outbreaks represent a threat to Americans with an increased risk of double and triple mutation variants which the vaccines we have today may not be able to stop,” Krishnamoorthy said while introducing the bill.
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“That’s why I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation to protect our country from new variants by helping our partners abroad vaccinate their citizens, end their outbreaks, and prevent new variants from emerging within their borders or reaching ours. So long as Covid-19 continues to thrive anywhere, it’s a threat to everyone everywhere, and that means we need the global response the NOVID Act would provide,” he added.
While introducing the bill, the two men were also joined by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.
“A global pandemic is not over until it gets fully eliminated from our planet. It is not only our moral responsibility to quickly and equitably unleash the resources necessary to defeat this deadly virus abroad, but also doing the same will also keep us safe at home while reducing the risk of dangerous new variants. At the heart of the NOVID Act is a powerful recognition that whether you live in America or around the world, your future is intertwined with mine — that we’re all better off when we’re all better off,” Jayapal said.
The bill is aimed at reducing the risk of more dangerous new Covid-19 strains and additional domestic outbreaks. It will help save lives in countries that are still suffering greatly from the virus.
“The bill facilitates a comprehensive strategy to end the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, much of the world does not have ready access to effective vaccines. Many in our Indian community have strong family and business ties in India and other countries currently experiencing uncontrolled Covid-19 outbreaks,” said Sunil Tolani, philanthropist and CEO of Prince Organization. Prince Organization is a Los Angeles-based luxury hospitality and real estate development company.
“As Americans, we should always strive to be good stewards of public health, both domestic and globally. That’s why we must pass the NOVID Act now. We are gathering and sending signatures with a letter to US senators and members of the US House of Representatives in support of the NOVID Act sponsored by Indian-American members of Congress Raja Krishnamoorthi and Pramila Jayapal along with two others,” he added.
The Act would be fundamental in inoculating at least 60% of the population in as many as 92 low and middle-income countries that are eligible to receive the anti-Covid vaccine through COVAX. It will establish the Pandemic Preparedness and Response Program (PanPReP) to cooperate with the US in trying to increase production, procurement and distribution of vaccines.
“With the current official death toll from Covid-19 in India at more than 3.5 million and rising, time is of the essence to continue to support the country as it continues to grapple with the virus’s devastating effects. Not only do business owners in our hospitality industry have strong family and business ties in India but millions of Indian diaspora are increasingly worried about the fate of the most vulnerable people in the country,” said Tolani.
To support the legislation, Indian-Americans are being asked to directly write to the Congress members in their district. To exponentially expand America’s international Covid-19 prevention and vaccination efforts, members of Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) on Capitol Hill have endorsed the NOCID Act.