A senior administration official said Friday that the White House is preparing for up to 100 million Americans to contract COVID-19 during the fall-winter wave if Congress does not provide new funding for vaccines and tests, warning that enough new funding is needed. Vaccines for everyone.
A senior government official told a small group of reporters Friday that the estimate is the average of a set of models from outside experts consulting with the government, which means more Americans are also likely to contract the virus, especially if there is an important new alternative. he is. †
That compares to the 130-140 million Americans estimated to have been hit by an omicron wave this winter, which has led to a significant spike in deaths.
The government says the number of cases could be lower if new funding allows many Americans to get updated vaccines this fall and plenty of testing.
The Biden administration says the new wave is not a cause for concern, as there are new tools, such as the highly potent Pfizer pill known as Baxlovid, as well as vaccines.
But officials say they need new funding from Congress to make these tools available in the next wave later this year.
Pfizer and Moderna are working on new versions of the vaccine that are intended to be more effective against new mutations of the virus. The so-called bivalent vaccine will target both the omicron variant and the original strain.
These new vaccines are expected to be ready by the fall, but the United States will not have enough money to buy them for all Americans unless Congress provides new funding, the administration says.
The senior administration official said the emergency plan, if Congress doesn’t provide new money, is to take all the funding from new tests, treatments, access and access to the vaccine, and try to stack it up to get enough, perhaps just to be able to buy enough updated vaccines for the elderly. .
With no new money in place, the Baxoloid supply is expected to run out in October or November, which means if people contract the virus in a wave during the holidays, the official said, no treatment will be available.
Despite repeated government pleas, new funding for COVID-19 in Congress remains on hold amid a Republican backlash. Republicans are demanding a vote to stop the government’s lifting of pandemic restrictions on the southern border known as Section 42, which Democrats also consider politically suspect because some of their moderate members also oppose lifting the measure.
Funding for COVID-19 will likely be boosted by linking it to aid for a new Ukraine passing through Congress, but Democratic leaders have not yet made clear whether they intend to do so, with the Republican Party warning of the move.
The White House requested $22.5 billion, although lawmakers searched for a smaller amount, $10 billion, that the parties could have found a way to pay.
Other countries are also eager to buy more updated treatments and vaccines, the official said, meaning that if the United States tries to wait until the fall to buy them, supplies likely won’t be available even months later.
The lack of a rapid test has also been a pervasive problem in the Omicron wave this winter. The official warned Friday that testing companies now want to lay off workers and will not have enough supplies for the fall wave unless the government steps in with new funding.
This story was updated at 2:32 PM
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