WASHINGTON – As President Joe Biden pressures Americans to get back on their feet of the epidemic, his superiors are anticipating a new wave of US Covid infections in the coming weeks, without significant support or essential tools in their military base.
Most of the management plan for the next phase of the epidemic – where Americans can return to work and daily activities without masks, in many cases – was based on the idea that Congress would provide billions of treatments, vaccines and tests. But that money appears to be in jeopardy after Congress dropped $ 15.6 billion from Covid’s response to a huge government funding package signed this week.
White House officials say they do not have a backup plan on how to keep most efforts running without funding and have begun making cuts. Meanwhile, a new variant called BA.2, which appears to be more contagious than omicron, is beginning to spread throughout the U.S. and has led to an increase in hospital admissions in Europe.
“We are somewhere in the middle of denial and deceptive reasoning,” said Eric Topol, senior vice president of Scripps Research. “We have to be prepared, we don’t have to release funding now, we need more funding this will hit us hard.”
The coalition government has already begun cutting back on Covid, reducing monoclonal antibodies to provinces by 30 percent next week, and said the program to provide treatment and testing for non-certified people will end next month.
For example, new and highly effective treatments from Pfizer are still limited and a “medical screening” program that allows people to get tested at a pharmacy and receive medication is still in place.
“We need the money. There are immediate results, some of which we need to address this week, next week and the first week of April, ”said the chief executive officer. “So time is not on our side. We need support urgently. ”
Prior to the vaccine, the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved a vaccine for children under 5 years of age, a move that officials have been waiting for by the end of February. There is also growing evidence that older adults will need a fourth dose of vaccine, four months after their last booster, to maintain high levels of antibody production, a Food and Drug Administration proposal we are currently reviewing. But even if the fourth dose is canceled, officials say they do not have enough money to buy extra booster doses for every American.
This week the virus came mainly near the White House, where workers no longer wear masks. The second prime minister, Doug Emhoff, was diagnosed with HIV on Tuesday, and at a party on Wednesday night, Biden made brief contact with the Irish prime minister just before the prime minister was ousted from the party when his Covid test came back.
Beyond the West Wing, there are indications that the US is beginning to see an increase in cases. The number of new cases reported at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has dropped, but an increase in Covid testing at home could affect that data. A third of wastewater treatment plants showed an increase in Covid charges from March 1 to March 10. The United States has never seen an increase in hospitals, though in the past those numbers have been a sign of backlog.
Even as the president has urged people to return to their normal jobs and jobs, and the CDC has advised that the majority of Americans can go without a mask, administration officials agree that the country may be heading for further legal action.
“Just because Covid does not interfere with some of our lives in certain communities as it did a few weeks ago, does not mean it is over,” said journalist Jen Psaki. “It simply came to our notice then. And I think this difference is an example of that. ”
There are indications that another wave may not be as deadly as the world saw in the summer because so many people have been infected. But managers are not expected to make significant changes to their policies.
“The change now, at least unless the hospitals are overcrowded, is that there will be a mode where if you want to protect yourself, you have to protect yourself. You have the tools to do that, you have the mask, you can test, ”said Andy Slavitt, who helped coordinate the management response to Biden’s first year.
White House officials have had a number of phone calls with members of Congress trying to raise funds, but Biden has yet to play a direct role in the effort. When he signed the financing bill that was supposed to cover the money, Biden did not mention the missing funds, nor did he have a meeting with lawmakers to push for the money.
After initially agreeing on a $ 15.6 billion fundraiser to help with the virus, Congress withdrew 11am last week, facing Republican opposition and secession from a small group of Democrats, who are opposed to reimbursing it by redirecting other available funds. Some lawmakers in the Democratic Alliance said party leaders did not pay their share.
“I can only say that we have talked about it. I think it would be obvious that this was not a viable strategy, and that we would have to find other ways, ”said Rep. Pramila Japayal, D-Wash.
As a result, lawmakers are locked in with no clear future approach to obtaining additional Covid funding. With the loss of the best car to drive it forward, the effort will now require a compromise that could win at least 10 House Democrats and Senate Republicans to pass.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was “deeply disappointed” by the decision to cut the money, saying a $ 15.6 billion compromise was not enough.
“I think we need all the money we can get to have the resources we need to fight Covid. The last thing we need is another difference, ”said Pelosi. “You want to stop the infection. Transfers create something different. The variety is different and introducing – if they are different, the challenges are different. So this is no surprise to you. “
He said Congress should find a way to approve the grant, while acknowledging that lawmakers “must end it” and avoid adding to debt.
GOP managers are right at this point. Caucus leaders say they want to first document how Covid’s existing funds are being spent. They also prefer to re-use funds that have already been approved but have not yet been used – an insult to some Democrat lawmakers who say their districts have made plans to spend that money.
“It is my opinion – and I think this is probably the opinion of many of our members – that we had the opportunity to get that last week and that the House of Lords’ office exploded.” it is something 10 people in the Republic will vote for, it is difficult to see how the Senate is going, “he added.
“Managers need to be realistic: Here’s how we spent our money, here are the stages where the money is left. Whether it is distributed or not, it has committed itself to these goals, ”said Blount. “And then how can they make a legal case for anything they think they need.”
Democrats also deal with political statistics. They control the White House and Congress, having won the 2020 election by continuing to defeat the virus. Covid’s situation has improved since the omicron wave, but some worry that if something different strikes this year the Democrats will be held accountable for its results, even if the Republicans are the ones blocking the response budget.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DNY, has called for a Covid aid bill, saying the federal government has “completely eliminated” public health money from the American Rescue Plan and “must transfer some of Covid’s money” to medical, testing and policies.
“Experience has taught us that new species can come back with a vengeance if – if – we are not ready,” he said.