The Biden administration on Friday unveiled its $65.3 billion plan to improve the U.S.’s pandemic preparedness strategy in the midst of COVID-19 and as the country readies for any future biological threats.
The White House plans to funnel the $65.3 billion over seven to 10 years to invest in the country’s ability to respond “rapidly and effectively” to future epidemics and pandemics, as the current COVID-19 crisis has disrupted society and killed millions worldwide.
“The cost of the pandemic prevention pales in comparison to the enormous cost – in lives and in economic cost – of a pandemic,” the administration said in a press release.
Eric Lander, the director of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP), told reporters that “it’s vital” to start with a commitment of $15 billion to $20 billion “to jump-start the efforts.”
The White House is also proposing the current budget reconciliation bill dedicate $15 billion to the effort, he said. Officials are in discussions with Capitol Hill about obtaining the $15 billion in the reconciliation and are “very optimistic,” Lander said.
“Five years from now we need to be in a stronger position to stop infectious diseases before they become global pandemics like COVID-19,” he said.
“There’s a reasonable likelihood of another serious pandemic that could be worse than COVID-19 will occur soon, possibly within the next decade,” he added. “And the next pandemic will very likely be substantially different than COVID-19. So we must be prepared to deal with any type of viral threats.”
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