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$8.5 billion pledged in emergency coronavirus funding

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Posted at 12:34 PM, Feb 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 12:58:58-05

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBW) — Top officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning Americans it's not a question of if the coronavirus will spread in the U.S., but when.
Now, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is pushing for Congress to release $8.5 billion in emergency funding to help fight the spread of the coronavirus (covid-19) here in the United States.

“Congress must act swiftly to confront the threat of this global health crisis,” said Leader Schumer. “This proposal brings desperately-needed resources to the global fight against coronavirus. Americans need to know that their government is prepared to handle the situation before coronavirus spreads to our communities. I urge the Congress to move quickly on this proposal. Time is of the essence.”

For context, according to Schumer's office, Congress appropriated more than $6B for the Flu Pandemic in 2006 and more than $7B for H1N1 flu in 2009.

Here's a breakdown of how that money would be spent under Schumer's proposal.

1. $1.5B for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—Including for the Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund and Global Health Security

a. CDC is at the front lines of America’s domestic and international response to the coronavirus. This funding is needed to strengthen critical support to state and local health departments, bolster laboratory work, and more. Other activities, like the evacuation of American citizens from China, deployment of CDC staff to states and ports of entry, and the purchase of protective and laboratory equipment and supplies, have been supported by the IDRRRF, depleting this fund.

2. $3 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund

a. The Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund helps drive our nation’s medical and public health preparedness for, response to, and recovery from disasters and public health emergencies. These funds would ensure our Department of Health and Human Services has the resources need to do the job and help contain the spread of this new virus.

3. $2 billion set-aside for State and Local Reimbursement

a. State and local health departments are on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak. Many cities, like New York, have already spent millions on personnel, lab equipment, and supplies. Additional expenditures are expected to include supplies for hospital triage and isolation spaces, as well as lab testing. Additionally, there’s significant need for staff and other resources to support the public health and healthcare response, including implementing the federal quarantine order. These activities require around-the-clock staffing, temporary housing, transportation, cleaning contracts, and wrap-around services.

4. $1B for the USAID Emerging Health Threats—Emergency Reserve Fund

a. The global health community is actively fighting the dual threats of Ebola and coronavirus in the midst of a potentially severe influenza season. This global response is a resource intensive effort. The international effort, led by the United States, is severely underfunded. The Emergency Reserve Fund allows USAID to respond to emerging health threats that pose severe risks to human health.

5. $1B for the National Institutes of Health—Vaccine Development

No cases of coronavirus have been reported in Western New York.

On Wednesday, medical officials in Ontario reported a fifth case of the novel coronavirus in the province in a person who traveled to Iran. So far, the virus has has infected 80,000 globally.

For tips on preventing the spread of the virus, click here.