CDC: Our Zika Money Is Basically Gone

'The cupboard is bare,' says Tom Frieden
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2016 5:21 AM CDT
This 2016 digitally-colorized electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the Zika virus, in red, about 40 nanometers in diameter.   (Cynthia Goldsmith/CDC via AP)

(Newser) – "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. (Read more Zika virus stories.)

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