What’s the news: When Congress passed the massive $ 1.5 trillion expense bill earlier this month ensured telecommunications health flexibility for most of 2022lawmakers left out nearly $ 16 billion in COVID-19 aids that had been included in an earlier version of the omnibus bill.
Now the AMA warns that while COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are declining and pandemic restrictions have been loosened, more congressional funding is needed to ensure that such progress is maintained.
“If we are to continue to minimize the effects of COVID-19 on our patients and our healthcare system,
Proper funding for COVID-19 mitigation measures and treatment options is essential, “wrote AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, in a letter to congressional leaders (PDF). “Otherwise, programs offering COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters will be forced to phase out, and our ability to secure additional booster doses or possible variant-specific vaccines will be called into question.
“Access to essential COVID-19 therapy, which is already in short supply and essential for limiting serious illness and hospitalization for the significant number of Americans who remain unvaccinated, will be threatened as the government will not be able to provide additional doses for the general population. ” Dr. Madara added. “Lack of funding will also threaten our current COVID-19 testing capacity. Accessibility testing, which has been a consistent challenge throughout the pandemic, remains a critical tool to help manage the spread of COVID-19.”
More funding is needed to mitigate test deficiencies and allow for free or inexpensive testing, both at home and from medical laboratories, the AMA letter says.
Why it’s important: Information from Europe and the United States’ wastewater monitoring “suggests that we will most likely begin to see an increase in COVID-19 cases within the next few weeks, as BA.2 Omicron subvariant is starting to make up a larger proportion of case numbers at home and abroad, ”wrote Dr. Madara.
“Despite the increased portability of this subvariant, we have the tools at our disposal to help limit the spread and limit further serious illness and death from COVID-19. To do so, however, we must realize that the threat of COVID-19 is not over. and provide adequate funding to ensure that the tools we have remain as widely available and accessible as possible. “
The daily number of cases in the UK has more than doubled and hospitalizations are increasing.
“Over the last year or so, what’s happening in the UK, usually here a few weeks later,” Anthony Fauci, MD, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, noted in a recent interview with NPR.
While many Americans and their congressional representatives are understandably exhausted by the pandemic, “our population is still at risk, despite the tools we have,” warned Dr. Madara. He urged lawmakers to “resume bipartisan discussions to draft a new COVID-19 emergency package that can be adopted quickly.”
Learn more: Stay up to date with COVID-19 Resource Center for Physicianswhich provides the latest news, media coverage, AMA guidance, research, online learning and CME and essential tools and resources.
Get the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines and variants and more reliable information directly from experts and medical leaders with “AMA COVID-19 update. “