As President Joe Biden pushes for Americans to return to their prepandemic lifestyles, his administration is bracing for a new wave of U.S. Covid infections in the coming weeks, without key funding or essential tools in its arsenal.
Much of the administration’s plan for the next phase of the pandemic — when Americans can return to work and everyday activities without masks, in most cases — was based on the assumption that Congress would be giving it billions for treatments, vaccines and testing. But that money appears to be in jeopardy after Congress dropped $15.6 billion in Covid response money from the massive government funding package signed this week.
White House officials say they have no backup plan for how to keep a number of efforts running without the funds and have already begun making cuts. Meanwhile, a new variant called BA.2, which appears even more contagious than omicron, is starting to spread throughout the U.S. and has already led to an uptick in hospitalizations in Europe.
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