Amid a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the country, the Biden administration said as many as 100 million people could become infected in a predicted fall and winter wave.
The Biden administration has been sounding the alarm for weeks that additional funding is needed to continue the federal Covid-19 response, even as it seeks a return to “normal” with many pandemic-era restrictions lifting. The projection of 100 million potential infections is an estimate based on a range of outside models that are being closely tracked by the administration and would include both the fall and winter. Biden administration officials say this estimate is based on an underlying assumption of no additional resources or extra mitigation measures being taken, including new Covid-19 funding from Congress, or dramatic new variants.
The White House is sharing these estimates as officials renew their push to get Congress to approve additional funding to combat the virus and as the nation approaches a coronavirus death toll of 1 million. Officials have said the White House will commemorate the moment when the U.S. surpasses 1 million deaths from Covid-19.
The Biden Administration is projecting that 100 million new COVID-19 infections are possible during a fall and winter surge if Congress doesn't approve more funding for vaccines and treatment. @WhitJohnson reports as the CDC investigates another major health concern. pic.twitter.com/dwvUtJgdJD
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) May 7, 2022
Officials have also argued that without new funding, the U.S. could be left unprepared for future waves. The Biden administration requested $22.5 billion in supplemental Covid-19 relief funding in March in a massive government funding package, but it was stripped from the bill. That request included funding for testing, treatments, therapeutics, and preventing future outbreaks. Negotiators were able to reach an agreement on a scaled-back $10 billion package, but Congress left Washington in April without passing that bipartisan bill amid a disagreement over the Title 42 immigration policy — a pandemic-era rule that allowed migrants to be returned immediately to their home countries, citing a public health emergency.