At the Biden summit, other nations pledge billions to bolster the pandemic response

There were some proverbial elephants in the room: there was no mention of the ongoing Covid crisis in China and the war in Ukraine. But J. Stephen Morrison, a global health expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the Group of 7 Nations commitments reflect the strengthening of ties between allied countries against Russia in Ukraine.

Such commitments, he said, will pave the way for the World Bank to create a new global pandemic preparedness fund. The fund will be similar to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, created two decades ago.

“It was the G7 that was at the heart of the HIV response, and somehow that’s putting that same garage band back together,” Morrison said. Referring to the lack of congressional funding, he said: “Overall, not a bad result under the circumstances.”

Before the summit began, Mr. Biden ordered the flags lowered to half mast in the White House and in all public buildings and military installations until Monday in commemoration of the nation’s death toll.

From Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention he had reported more than 995,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States; a New York Times database put the figure at more than 997,000. But with the heads of state, philanthropy leaders and pharmaceutical executives attending the virtual meeting, Mr. Biden was ready to mark the moment.

Globally, the World Health Organization said nearly 15 million more people died during the first two years of the pandemic than would have been expected during normal times. That estimate far exceeds the official death toll of Covid reported by countries.

Despite gloomy predictions, summit attendees reported some progress. Samantha Power, the administrator of the US Agency for International Development, told attendees that the percentage of fully vaccinated eligible people in Ghana had doubled between December and April and now stood at 25.4 percent. Uganda has also seen an increase in vaccinations.