While most Americans are understandably returning to a normal routine in their lives after two years of the Coronavirus Pandemic, two points must be made.

  • COVID 19 has not gone away. There are new Coronavirus outbreaks in China and Europe. It will probably be a matter of days until the latest surge hits the Americas if it has not already.
  • The United States Government will need new funds to combat future surges and adjust to the new normal of the Coronavirus being in our lives for the foreseeable (and probably distant future.)

For everyone who wants to put COVID 19 behind them, that would be unwise. Reasonable safety precautions should still be maintained. Funding needs to be provided to pay for them and the medical needs that will arise.

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The Biden/Harris Administration and Democrats in Congress realize that and they wanted to fund these coming needs.

Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress, already immersed in Coronavirus (and scientific reality) denialism, were able to thwart an infusion of almost $23 billion in COVID 19 funding in the $1.5 trillion omnibus budget. Trimmed to just under $16 billion, that amount was jettisoned when some Democrats objected to the monies coming out of unspent proceeds ear marked for local government aid.

In an interview with PBS on March 17, 2022 Dr. Anthony Fauci maintained, with new COVID 19 outbreaks popping up, that the new funding is needed, stating:

“Well, we do need it, Judy (Woodruff.)

I mean, the money that has been allocated has been well-spent. And we have had a lot of very important successes with that — resources with regard to the vaccinations, the drugs, the tests, all the things that have actually worked well.

But we are running out of money. This is not make-believe. I mean, when we look at the things we have already started that we need to complete, the talk about whether or not we will need a boost and what kind of boost, what about the issue of coronavirus vaccines that will protect us from what might be the next iteration?”

“We are running out of money. And if we don’t get money reasonably soon, there are things that we were hoping we would continue that we’re going have to stop, and there are things we were hopefully able to initiate that we will not be able to initiate. That’s a big concern.”

Senior Biden/Harris Administration officials warned in a press briefing on March 15 that dire consequences could occur if the funding is not provided by Congress very soon. They relayed:

“Further inaction will set us back; leave us unprepared — less prepared; and cost us more lives.

We need Congress to provide the $22.5 billion in emergency immediate funding.

Now, let me walk through some of the immediate consequences of a lack of funding.

First, on vaccines: Without additional funding, we do not have the adequate resources to purchase enough booster shots for all Americans if an additional shot is needed…

To ensure enough fourth doses for all Americans or a variant-specific vaccine should we ever need them, we must have funding in hand…

Next, on treatments: To date, we have shipped over 7 million courses of treatments to the American people.  And in many cases, we have sent federal medical personnel to states to help administer those treatments.  When Omicron hit, the federal government stepped in to ramp up delivery of the last remaining treatment that worked.

These efforts have saved lives in every state in the country.

We have planned — we had planned to purchase additional monoclonals as soon as next week.  Without additional funding, we are cancelling those plans.  And as we will make clear to governors later this morning, we also need to cut the number of monoclonal antibody treatments we send to states by 30 percent starting next week.

Even with these cuts, we anticipate that our supply of monoclonal antibody treatments will run out as soon as late May.

Next, on the preventative treatments for immunocompromised Americans: We have purchased 1.7 million doses of AstraZeneca’s Evusheld — all that they could produce to date.

AstraZeneca recently told us that they will be — they will have additional supply that will be available for delivery starting in September.  These are doses we had planned to purchase as soon as the end of March.

Without more funding, the federal government will now be forced to scale back on that purchase.  So, we’ll likely run out of treatments for our most vulnerable Americans by the end of the year, if not sooner.

The bottom line on treatments is this: Without additional funding soon, thousands of patients could lose access to treatments, and these companies will have little incentive to continue investing in the development and manufacturing of these treatments.

Next, on the uninsured fund:The Administration notified Congress in February that this fund that reimburses doctors and other medical providers for caring for uninsured individuals was running out of money and would have to stop taking new claims in March…

This means doctors, nurses, pharmacists, labs, and other healthcare providers will no longer be reimbursed for tests, treatments, and vaccinations for people without health insurance.

And finally, in addition to all of these impacts to our domestic response, the lack of funding greatly impacts our global response.

Without more funding, USAID and our interagency partners will have to cut short efforts to turn vaccines into vaccinations around the world.

This will devastate our ability to ensure these countries can effectively deploy safe and effective vaccines.  And leaving large unvaccinated populations worldwide will increase the risk of new deadly emerging — of variants emerging that could evade our current vaccines and treatments. 

Without additional funding, USAID will also be unable to provide lifesaving supplies, tests, therapeutics, oxygen, and other humanitarian aid to countries still struggling to manage a continued COVID disease burden.”

On the long term effects of no funding, the Administration spokespeople offered:

“Without additional funding, we lack the resources needed to get behind promising new treatments, meaning less supply available to the American people.

So the failure to invest in the research and the advanced purchase of lifesaving treatments and new vaccines now will leave the nation vulnerable in the face of a new variant or a new surge.

Finally, on testing: We have significantly increased our testing capacity in this country through targeted federal investments.

Without additional funding, we do not have the ability to maintain our domestic testing capacity beyond June.

So, after spending the last year building up our testing capacity, Congress now risks squandering that capacity heading into the second half of this year.”

Please click here to read a fact sheet summary on what would happen if funding is not provided.

Either the Administration needs to do a little creative book keeping on the $1.5 trillion budget that just passed and fund these needed priorities that way or the Democrats and the few responsible Republicans (because the majority of them stopped believing in scientific reality years ago) still out there need to act fast to pass this emergency COVID measure yesterday.

The bottom line is: The Coronavirus is here to stay and the American People need to build the new normal around that reality.

It is unfortunate that there is only one political party in this country that grasps the urgency of the situation. Fortunately, it is the one that is leading in the White House and Congress.

When will the other one get its head out of the sand and come to the table to be part of the solution?

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