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Biden’s return to normal Covid strategy faces new challenges as funding stagnates

Washington — President Joe Biden is urging Americans to return to a pre-pandemic lifestyle, so his administration has been infected with Covid in the United States in the coming weeks without essential funding and arsenal tools. Preparing for a new wave of.

Many of the government’s plans for the next stage of the pandemic, when Americans can return to work and daily activities without masks, assume that Congress will give billions of dollars for treatment, vaccines, and testing. Was based on. Funds appear to be at stake after Congress dropped $ 15.6 billion in Covid’s response from a large government funding package signed this week.

According to White House officials, there are no backup plans to continue much effort without funding, and while reductions have already begun, a new variant called BA.2, which appears to be even more contagious than Omicron. Species are beginning to spread throughout the United States, which has already led to increased hospitalizations in Europe.

Eric Topol, Executive Vice President of Scripps Research, said:

The federal government has already begun to cut back on Covid drug purchases, saying it will cut 30% of monoclonal antibody shipments to the state next week and end its program to provide treatment and testing to uninsured people next month.

For example, Pfizer’s new and highly effective treatments are still limited, and there are still “treatment test” programs in place that allow people to be tested at a pharmacy before receiving the drug.

“We need money. We have close results, some of which have to act this week, next week, and the first week of April,” said a senior government official. I need money right away. “

In terms of vaccines, the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved vaccines for children under the age of five. This is what the authorities expected by the end of February. There is also increasing evidence that older people need a fourth dose of the vaccine. , 4 months after the last booster, is a proposal currently under consideration by the Food and Drug Administration to maintain high levels of antibody production. However, even if the fourth vaccination is cleared, the government says it does not have enough money to buy more. Booster dose for all Americans.

This week, the virus was a particular hit near the White House, where staff no longer wear masks. A second gentleman, Daguemhof, tested positive on Tuesday, and at the Gala on Wednesday night, Biden briefly spoke with the Irish Prime Minister shortly before he resigned. Prime Minister of the event when his Covid test returned positive.

Beyond the West Wing, there are signs that the number of cases is beginning to increase in the United States. The number of new infections reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is declining, but the increase in Covid tests at home may distort it. One-third of wastewater monitoring sites show an increase in Covid cases from March 1st to March 10th. In the past, these numbers were lagging indicators, but there was no increase in hospitalizations in the United States.

Even if the president encourages people to return to work and their normal activities and the CDC advises that most Americans can be maskless, executives say the country is heading for a further increase in cases. I admit that I may be there.

“Just because Covid doesn’t disrupt a part of our lives in a particular community like it did a few weeks ago doesn’t mean it’s gone,” said spokesman Jen Psaki. .. This is an example. “

There are signs that another wave may not be as deadly as what we saw in the summer, as so many people have been infected with the wave, but the administration is not expected to make major changes to its policy. Hmm.

“At least unless the hospital is significantly full, the change now is that if you want to protect yourself, you’re in a mode where you want to protect yourself. There are tools, masks, and masks to do that. You can take a test. ” Andy Slavitt, who helped coordinate the administration’s pandemic response in the first year of Biden, said.

Republicans skeptical about raising new Covid

White House officials have made dozens of phone calls with members of the House who are trying to raise money, but Biden has not yet been directly engaged in the effort. Due to lack of funds, he has not held a meeting with the legislator to specifically demand money.

Congress first agreed to inject $ 15.6 billion to rescue the virus, then stripped the money 11 hours last week and paid it by opposition from the Republicans and redirecting some of the existing money. Faced with asylum from a small group of Democrats who opposed the. The leader did not make that partial payment by them.

“If we were talking about it, I think it was very clear that this was probably not a strategy that would work and we needed to find another option,” said Congressman Pramira Japial. D-wash.

As a result, lawmakers are stuck without a clear path to get additional Covid funding, and the best way to move it forward is lost, so this effort is with Democrats. We need a compromise that can beat at least 10 Senate Republicans. To pass.

Chairman Nancy Pelosi said the $ 15.6 billion compromise was already inadequate and was “extremely disappointed” with the decision to cut funding.

“I think I need all the money I can get to get the resources I need to fight Covid. The last thing I need is another variant. I want to stop sending. The variant is created by sending. Variants are different and they present — different challenges if they are different, so there is nothing to ruin this. “

She said Congress should find a way to approve the money, but lawmakers admit that it “must be offset” and should avoid increasing debt.

Republican senators agree with this idea. Caucus leaders want to first explain how existing Covid funds were used. And they prefer to reuse money that has already been approved but has not yet been spent. The state has planned to spend the money.

“My view-and I think this is probably the view of most members-I had a chance to get it last week and the House Progressive Wing blew it up. They shot it with a torpedo.” Senate Minority Whip John Thune, RS .D. “It’s hard to see how it goes through the Senate unless it’s paid and 10 Republicans vote,” he added. Funds. “

Senator Roy Blunt, leader of Missouri, said:

“Administration must be absolutely easy. This is what we spent money on. This is the category where we still have money. Whether it is distributed or not, it is for these purposes. It’s been committed for, “Blount said. Whatever they think they need is a legitimate case. “

Democrats are also facing political calculations. They ruled the White House and Congress and won the 2020 elections by defeating the virus. Covid’s situation has improved since the Omicron wave, but if another variant hits this year, the Democrats are due to the consequences, even if Republicans block the response.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. The federal government has “completely exhausted” public health funds for US rescue programs, treatments, tests, and vaccines.

“Experience has shown that if not ready, new variants can take revenge and come back,” he said.

Fix (March 20, 2022, 10 am EST): In previous versions of this article, the name of the former Pandemic Coordinator of the Biden administration was misspelled. He is Andy Rabbit, not Slavit.

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