"The cupboard is bare." Not the most reassuring sentence when the speaker is CDC head Tom Frieden and what was formerly in the cupboard was the agency's Zika-fighting money. Congress has thus far failed to direct emergency funds to fighting the Zika virus, so the CDC rerouted $222 million intended for things like emergency response and immunizations to Zika. Of that, $197.3 million has been spent, reports NBC News, and while the CDC has provided Zika-hit Florida with everything it has needed, "we don't have any more resources to give," says Frieden. The Washington Post reports the $222 million will be used up by late September.
And more money could be needed, in Florida or elsewhere: "It's still the peak of mosquito season. It usually doesn't end until the end of October," Frieden says. Congress is scheduled to vote on a $1.1 billion Zika package on Tuesday, reports the New York Times; it's the Republican's response to the $1.9 billion President Obama asked for in February, and smooth sailing is not expected: The package keeps Planned Parenthood off the list of those receiving funding for contraception as a virus preventative, to some Democrats' dismay. In addition to general Zika-fighting efforts, Frieden says new funding would allow the CDC to create more effective tests for Zika, support the NIH in its work on a vaccine, and study infected newborns.