White House Outlines Additional COVID-19 Investments
This week, the Biden-Harris Administration White House announced a number of significant investments in the federal government’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below, we highlight these actions:
- Fighting COVID-19 Virus Variants: Pointing to the rapid rise of COVID-19 virus variants nationwide, the Biden-Harris Administration announced significant investments to improve the nation’s capacity to detect, monitor, and mitigate virus mutations made possible through the American Rescue Plan. In carrying out this work, the Administration announced:
- $1 Billion to Expand Genomic Sequencing: This funding is anticipated to assist the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), states, and other jurisdictions improve their capacity to identify COVID-19 mutations and monitor the transmission of variants. The majority of this work is anticipated to be carried out by the CDC through partnerships with state laboratories and laboratory partners. An initial $240 million is being made available nationwide; California is slated to receive just over $17 million and Los Angeles County will receive a direct allocation of $6.4 million. Remaining funding is anticipated to be dispersed over the coming years.
- $400 Million to Support Innovation Initiatives: This funding will establish six Centers of Excellence in Genomic Epidemiology, which will operate as partnerships between state health departments and academic institutions. Ares of focus for these centers will likely include bioinformatic workflows and the critical integration of genomic and epidemiologic data.
- $300 Million to Build and Support a National Bioinformatics Infrastructure: This investment will support bioinformatics throughout the U.S. public health system, creating a unified system for sharing and analyzing sequence data in a way that protects privacy and improves informed decision making. This funding will additionally support training to increase sequencing in clinical settings and expand the CDC’s Bioinformatics Fellowship program.
Additional information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s investments in fighting COVID-19 virus variants is available here.
- Support for Indian Country: The Biden-Harris Administration additionally announced its investment of more than $4 billion to combat COVID-19 in Indian Country. Funding from the American Rescue Plan is anticipated to expand COVID-19 testing and treatment, increase health services to those at higher risk of COVID-19, and expand the abilities of health facilities to serve Native American populations. Specifically, this includes:
- $600 Million to Increase COVID-19 Vaccines: The Indian Health Service (IHS) will invest $600 million to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Indian Country, including through mobile vaccination efforts, large scale vaccination events, and other activities to help connect American Indians and Alaska Natives to vaccines. Funding will also be available to support for trusted local voices and medical professionals to conduct community outreach.
- $1 Billion to Detect, Diagnose, Trace, Monitor, and Mitigate COVID-19 Infections: The IHS will invest $1 billion to increase contact tracing, drive-through testing sites, pop-up testing sites, and other public health efforts to combat the continued spread of COVID-19.
- $2 Billion for Tribal Health Systems: The IHS will also provide $2 billion to replace lost revenues attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, which reduced reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid, VA, and private insurance. These funds will help make up for the financial losses experienced across the Indian health system, as well as strengthen long-term health care in Indian Country.
Additional information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s investments in Indian Country is available here.