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The Biden administration is issuing a new warning that the US could potentially see 100 million COVID-19 infections this fall and winter, as officials publicly stress the need for more funding from Congress to prepare the nation.
According to the Washington Post, deaths and hospitalizations would see a sharp increase. A senior administration official included the warning in a press briefing Friday – basing it on outside models rather than new data.
Actually, the warning is based mainly on an underlying assumption of no additional resources or extra mitigation measures being taken, including new Covid-19 funding from Congress, or the rise of dramatic new variants.
“What they’re saying seems reasonable—it’s on the pessimistic side of what we projected in the COVID-19 scenario modeling run,” said Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina.
And even after two years of dealing with the coronavirus, Lessler said it’s becoming even more difficult to predict COVID trends, with so much still not known about the virus itself, and human behavior in response.
As an example, an epidemiologist at Columbia University said that at this point, “Predicting new variants that are going to spill out—that’s total guesswork.”
CNN reported in April that the Biden administration requested $22.5 billion in supplemental COVID-19 relief funding in March in a massive government funding package but it was stripped from the bill.
The bill included funding for testing, treatments, therapeutics, and preventing future outbreaks. After negotiations, Congress stripped the bill back to #10 billion, but Congress left Washington in April without passing that bipartisan bill amid a disagreement over the Title 42 immigration policy.
The bottom line? – Officials have argued that without new funding, the US could be left unprepared for future waves.