White House preps for cold-weather wave of 100M COVID infections

Posted 48 days ago

From THEHILL.COM

The White House is preparing for as many as 100 million Americans to get infected with COVID-19 during a wave this fall and winter if Congress does not provide new funding for vaccines and tests, a senior administration official said Friday, warning new money is needed to have enough vaccines for everyone.

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.

That compares with the roughly 130-140 million Americans who are estimated to have been infected over the omicron wave this winter, which led to a significant spike in deaths.

The administration argues the number of cases could be lower if new funding allows for many Americans to get updated vaccines this fall and for testing to be plentiful.

The Biden administration argues the new wave is not a cause for panic, given there are new tools like the highly-effective Pfizer pill known as Paxlovid, as well as vaccinations.

But officials are trying to sound the drumbeat that they need new funding from Congress in order to have those tools available during the wave coming later this year.

Pfizer and Moderna are working on new versions of the vaccine aimed at being more effective against the newer mutations of the virus. The so-called bivalent vaccine would target the omicron variant as well as the original strain.

Those new vaccines are expected to be ready by the fall, but the U. S. will not have enough money to purchase them for all Americans unless Congress provides new funding, the administration says.

The senior administration official said the ... (Read more)