The Biden administration is issuing a new warning that the US could potentially see 100 million Covid-19 infections this fall and winter, as officials publicly stress the need for more funding from Congress to prepare the nation.
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, a senior administration official told CNN. 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 US surpasses 1 million deaths from Covid-19.
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 100 million estimate was first reported by The Washington Post.
CNN has reported that 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.
Officials have argued that without new funding, the US could be left unprepared for future waves.