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Congress Recently Made a “Decision to Prolong the Pandemic” by Freezing International Covid Assistance at Zero!

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Public health experts are outraged by the move, which they believe will prolong the Covid-19 catastrophe. Republican and Democratic congressional negotiators are expected to propose a $10 billion coronavirus financing proposal on Monday that contains no money to combat the pandemic worldwide.

According to Peter Maybarduk, Access to Medicines director at Public Citizen, “failing to fund the global fight against Covid-19 is a choice to allow the pandemic to continue, to accept preventable suffering and insecurity for all people, and to live with the knowledge that, deep in the time of the world’s greatest need, the United States gave up.”

Lawmakers were previously discussing a package that contained $1 billion in funds for the global pandemic response, money that would go toward worldwide vaccination initiatives and money that would go toward other critical programs that are currently stalled due to a lack of funding.

The Biden administration is already facing growing criticism for falling far short of its modest vaccine donation goals, which have been widely criticized.

However, according to a report published Monday by “The Washington Post,” lawmakers “were unable to agree on how to pay for” the $1 billion in Covid-19 funding, despite the fact that it represented a fraction of the $5 billion requested by the White House last month.

The alleged agreement to remove money from the global Covid-19 program from the spending pact comes only weeks after Congress approved a $782 billion military budget, which is $29 billion more than President Joe Biden had asked for last year in his budget request.

It was reported in the “Washington Post” that “the deal likely to be announced Monday is expected to repurpose funds from past stimulus packages.”

The Republican-controlled Congress has consistently questioned the need for any additional Covid-19 financing and has insisted that any funds for the pandemic come from already-approved sources.

The $10 billion aid package, which is anticipated to be approved by the Senate as early as this week, will be used to acquire diagnostics, vaccines, and treatments for the United States’ military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to Jen Kates, director of global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, the decision to withdraw funding for the international pandemic response represents “a victory for the virus.”

"Decision to Prolong

One of the primary take-home messages from this event — that this is actually a global phenomena — has not resonated, or at the very least has not resonated beyond politics, according to Kates.

According to Our World in Data, just 14.5 percent of people in low-income countries have gotten at least one coronavirus vaccination dosage, despite the fact that wealthier countries and pharmaceutical companies continue to hoard vaccine doses and technological advances.

Earlier this week, “Politico” reported that “top officials at the United States Agency for International Development privately warned the White House and lawmakers on Capitol Hill that USAID would soon run out of money to help put Covid-19 shots in arms around the world, jeopardizing one of President Joe Biden’s key Covid promises.”

Coronavirus experts have long warned that failure to ensure global, equitable access to coronavirus vaccines increases the likelihood of variants emerging and spreading—a concern that appears to have been confirmed by the worldwide infection waves caused by the Delta and Omicron mutations of the virus.

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Recent outbreaks in Asia and Europe, which are believed to have been triggered by a highly infectious Omicron subvariant, have raised fears that another wave in the United States is on the horizon at a time when Congress is cutting funds for pandemic preparation and response.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the subvariant is responsible for more than half of all new coronavirus cases in the United States.

“The United States Congress is going to announce a $10 billion investment in Covid. Those funds are required for domestic purposes and are beneficial “Public Citizen’s president, Robert Weissman, made the announcement on Monday.

“However, zero for worldwide Covid equates to many unnecessary deaths in poor countries—as well as a higher likelihood of new variations emerging.”

According to a research article published in February, an investment of $61 billion could cover the manufacturing of three coronavirus vaccine doses for every individual in low- and lower-middle-income countries, resulting in the saving of more than a million lives in that time period.

“There isn’t a scarcity of funds,” Weissman asserted. “I’ll just do it.”

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