The Trump administration has outlined $3 billion in cuts to global health in its 2021 budget proposal—a move that would halve the US contribution to the WHO as the world battles the coronavirus outbreak, Foreign Policy reports.
Congressional leaders rushed to say they would overturn plans to slash funding. Administration officials defended the move by pointing to new resources allocated, including a $15 million boost for the USAID’s Global Health Security Program to fight the coronavirus, and $25 million for an Emergency Reserve Fund.
“[Adding] $15 million more to this account, while cutting more than $3 billion in overall global health programs, is not the answer for pandemic preparedness,” said Liz Schrayer, president and CEO of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.
The budget threats accompany a grim milestone in the coronavirus outbreak: more than 1,000 deaths, according to the AP.
The virus is straining public health systems as people in the hardest-hit parts of China struggle to get treatment. And people in low-resource countries express worry over how they’d manage cases.
Ramping up public health systems to cope with the virus could cost $675 million in February-April, says Scott Pendergast, the WHO’s director for Health Emergencies Strategy—not including research and economic costs.
Latest numbers (from Reuters):
Cases: 42,708 in mainland China; 319 outside China