The State of COVID-19 On-the-Ground in India: Climate activist based in India provides first-hand perspective to healthcare crisis, global response, the role of youth in innovative solutions, and her Pittsburgh ties

Pittsburgh, PA – In a video interview held today with World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh President and CEO, Betty Cruz, climate activist, Divya Nawale, describes the challenges in India and how the global community can provide support, including Pittsburgh residents. 

Facing its second wave of COVID-19 infections, India’s numbers continue to grow rapidly as its healthcare system is overwhelmed by new cases, and hospital and vaccine supply shortages. The World Health Organization has reported India as accounting for one in every three new coronavirus cases globally. Despite being the world’s largest producer of the vaccine, India is running out of supplies to make new doses. According to public health experts, the global community, especially the United States, must make greater strides to help address the country’s lack of vaccines.

“What was not anticipated was that there were a few variants that had come in… these were similar to the variants that came out in the U.K. and South Africa over the last six months [but there was] a lack of understanding of how fast these variants can spread,” says Divya Nawale, a local resident in India describing her on-the-ground perspective during the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adding, “The most inspiring thing that has happened is to see normal citizens jump into the whole situation and actually come together in different ways to support each other.”

Nawale works with the Asian Development Bank on clean energy and energy programs across Southeast Asia. She is a 2016 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs where she earned her Master of Public Policy and Management. 

The Pittsburgh community and viewers around the world can help with relief efforts through GiveIndia. For use of the video and questions about World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh programming, contact Thomas Walters via email at

The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established in 1931. The Council convenes and connects people around global issues to build a thriving, competitive, and inclusive Pittsburgh. Visit and follow the Council on social media for more information.