White House Prompts Congress for COVID-19 Funds


Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Shalanda Young is the director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Natalie Ramirez, Reporter

Congress continues to feel the pressure of the White House to supply emergency funds required for COVID-19 response efforts. Resources such as vaccines, treatments, and other necessities will face major cutbacks at the loss of funds. The U.S. will face severe shortages monoclonal antibody treatments, antibodies made by cloning a particular white blood cell to combat unique diseases. A fourth dose will also be lacking in sufficient amounts of supply.

White House coronavirus coordinator, Jeff Zients, worked with acting director of the Office of Management, Shalanda Young, to write a letter urging Congress to pass funds for COVID-19.

“Right now, we don’t have enough money for fourth doses, if they’re called for,” says Zients. They can only afford supply for citizens over 65 and children under 5 if they become eligible for a fourth dose, it has already been purchased by the Biden administration. However, that’s as far as their spending goes.” He adds on, “The consequences of congressional inaction are severe, and they are immediate.”

Shalanda Young wrote, “With cases rising abroad, scientific and medical experts have been clear that in the next couple of months we could see rising cases of COVID-19 here in the United States as well. Waiting to provide funding until we’re in a surge will be too late.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that subvariant of Omicron, BA.2, causes 35% of new cases in the U.S. While hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 in the U.S. still remain low, BA.2 is spreading fast throughout Europe and other continents.

In the letter Young and Zients wrote to Congress, they continue to caution that funds are required to prepare for future COVID-19 variants. Zients states, “The virus is not waiting for Congress to act. With every minute this funding request is stalled, we’re losing the ability to protect people and be prepared.”