The White House is preparing for a cold-weather Covid wave later this year that could infect as many as 100 million Americans if Congress doesn’t provide additional pandemic funding, The Hill’s Peter Sullivan reports: “A senior administration official told a small group of reporters on Friday that the estimate is the median of a range of models from outside experts that the administration consults, meaning it is also possible significantly more Americans catch the virus, especially if there is a major new variant.”
The omicron wave this winter infected about 130 million to 140 million Americans, Sullivan says, adding that the Biden administration projects that case numbers this fall and winter could be lower if funding is made available for increased testing and updated vaccines expected to be ready by the fall. A bipartisan package providing $10 billion in pandemic funding is stalled in Congress as Republicans demand a vote on an amendment to prevent the lifting of pandemic-era immigration restrictions. Democrats may look to tie the Covid funding to an aid package for Ukraine.
“The senior administration official said the contingency plan if Congress does not provide new money is to take all funding out of testing, new treatments and vaccine education and outreach, and try to pile it up to have enough to maybe be able buy enough updated vaccines only for the elderly,” Sullivan reports.