Unless Congress approves more funding for the COVID-19 response, the future of the virus in the United States is likely to be bleak, Dr. Ashish Jha said. Twitter Thusday.
President Joe Biden’s administration is ready to push lawmakers to approve more COVID-19 relief funds when Congress returns next week after a hiatus, according to CNN.
The administration released a fact sheet on Wednesday focusing on the need for additional funding and the “consequences of congressional inaction.” Jha – the White House coronavirus response coordinator, currently on short-term leave from his position as dean of the Brown University School of Public Health – echoed the main points on Twitter.
The consequences of Congress’s decision to “give up”, as Jha puts it, are “not pretty”.
First, Jha said a lack of additional funding means the United States will run out of treatments for COVID-19.
“So if you get COVID later this year, there will be no treatment available for you,” Jha wrote. “And no, your insurer won’t be able to step in and buy it instead (for a whole host of reasons).”
Perhaps an even bigger issue when it comes to COVID therapies is purchasing newly developed treatments, Jha said. New treatments are coming and, according to Jha, countries are lining up to buy them, but the United States can’t be a part of it without more funding.
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“The administration secured more than one million courses of Evusheld, a preventative therapy for immunocompromised individuals,” the fact sheet states. “Due to the lack of funding, we had to significantly reduce our plans to purchase additional supply.”
The woes also extend to vaccines.
“Without more funding, we won’t get the next generation of vaccines. Yes, we could receive new vaccines this fall, vaccines that could be even more effective and long-lasting,” Jha said. “The contracts for these vaccines will have to be negotiated soon. … If Congress does not act…. We will not get these vaccines. Others will.
According to the fact sheet, the United States currently has sufficient supplies for a booster shot for Americans ages 12 and older, with additional boosters for those who are immunocompromised or those over 50.
“Other countries are already placing orders for future requirements and therefore will be supplied before they become available to Americans,” reads the fact sheet. “Not having enough supplies to support booster shots for everyone, if needed, puts American lives at risk and is a completely preventable outcome.”
The testing supply will also dry up, Jha said.
“We have made great efforts to develop domestic manufacturing. But with the drop in demand, these manufacturing lines are closed,” Jha tweeted. “Without funding, we will not be able to stockpile enough tests or keep domestic manufacturers afloat. So, in the next wave, we may not have the tests we need. And will rely on manufacturers in other countries to send us tests. If they can.”
According to the fact sheet, federal investments are critical to maintaining national test manufacturing capacity at current levels. Without investments, manufacturers will need months to recover from future surges and people could once again see empty store shelves and long lines at test sites.
“All of this is preventable. None of this should happen. But Congress must act. The longer they wait, the further we back off,” Jha wrote. “It’s time for Congress to step in and protect the American people. The pandemic is not over. »
Read Jha’s full thread here:
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