Congress must pass additional funding to fight COVID-19, ACP says

Physicians’ group cites CDC data in letter to lawmakers.

Congress must pass legislation with additional money to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, or jeopardize needed measures in the public health emergency, according to the American College of Physicians (ACP).

College President George M. Abraham, MD, MACP, wrote to congressional leaders calling for more funding in the COVID Supplemental Appropriations Act 2022, or HR 7007.

“Sustained and adequate funding is essential for the federal government and public health agencies to support the country’s ongoing efforts to prevent and mitigate the harmful effects of COVID-19 on patients,” said Abraham, who leads the organization representing internists. “Without additional federal resources these critical efforts are in jeopardy of not continuing.”

Abraham cited the recent uptick of the COVID virus detected in wastewater around the United States.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) monitors the virus RNA in wastewater collection systems around the country. COVID-19 levels in wastewater could serve as “an early warning system” for increasing clinical cases in a community, according to the CDC.

The agency also monitors COVID-19 variants and reported the BA.2 variant made up 23% of cases around the country, Abraham said.

In Congress, the bill contains $10.6 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, including $9.85 billion for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and $750 million to develop new vaccines that protect against future variants.

“The COVID Supplemental Appropriations Act 2022, and its accompanying funding are necessary to maintain the federal government’s ongoing response to the COVID pandemic,” Abraham said. “Without additional funding, patients will not have access to the vaccines, treatments, and testing needed to mitigate the harmful effects of COVID. We urge both the House and Senate to quickly pass this legislation to avoid any gap in access to these critical services for our patients and avoid any surge of COVID due to a lack of resources.”