Covid cases surged during the last two winters and are likely to again this year — unless the country can prepare and act, White House Covid-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha said Sunday morning.
“If we don’t get ahead of this thing, we’ll have a lot of waning immunity, this virus continues to evolve and we may see a pretty sizable wave of infections, hospitalizations and deaths this fall and winter,” Jha said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Congress needs to provide resources, Jha said, specifically $22.5 billion, a number that will help with a vaccine supply that’s dwindling. In March, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said: “If the science shows that fourth doses are needed for the general population later this year, we will not have the supply necessary to ensure shots are available.”
The money, once allocated, would go toward Covid vaccine supply and coronavirus testing.
“If Congress doesn’t step up and fund these, I think, urgent and emergent priorities … they can’t wait until the fall, it will be too late,” Jha said.
And the proof is in the jab. With cases increasing in the Northeast, deaths remain low because of high vaccination rates.
“That’s not true for the whole country,” Jha said.
With enough resources to get more people vaccinated and more therapeutics in place, he said, “I do think we can get through this winter without a lot of suffering and death.”