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POTUS Sets $589M to Fight Zika Virus

By Alexandra Gratereaux
Posted On Apr 07, 2016
POTUS Sets $589M to Fight Zika Virus

The Zika virus is spreading like wildfire. So much so, that the Obama administration is putting in $589 million to combat this health epidemic.

 

The White House announced Wednesday that federal cash left over from combating Ebola will now be used in the efforts to eradicate and treat the Zika virus.

 

According to ABC News, the whopping $589 million will be given to the Centers for Disease Control (CDCs). Research hubs studying prevention techniques and birth defects stemming from the Zika virus will also get a portion of the money. The cash has also been designated for creating response teams to diminish the virus in case of a crisis and for the U.S. Agency for International Development to fight the virus abroad.

 

Originally, Obama asked for $1.9 billion in emergency funds to fight the virus but the GOP stalled Obama’s request in Congress.

 

While $589 million is a great head start, White House Budget Chief, Shaun Donovan, and Health and Human Services Secretary, Sylvia M. Burwell, urge Congress to approve the full amount requested to fight both the Zika virus and Ebola simultaneously.

 

“We cannot wait for this supplemental. We cannot wait for the fall,” Donovan said. “There are real consequences and risks for waiting.”

Both Donovan and Burwell agree that the requested amount of $1.9 billion is needed for key resources such as vaccines and diagnostic tests.

“We’ve made important progress to keep Americans safe from these public health threats here and abroad, but these efforts need to continue and they can’t be stopped or shortchanged,” Burwell said. “We face two real global health challenges, Ebola and Zika, and we don’t have an option to set one aside in the name of the other.”

With summer quickly approaching, there is concern a Zika virus flare-up may arise.

Burwell told reporters on Wednesday that there are 672 cases of the Zika virus, which can also be spread through sexual contact, confirmed in the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. territories.

There are also 64 cases of pregnant women with the virus. An estimated 40 million people will be traveling between the United States and countries were the Zika virus is prominent.