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
CDC: Our Zika Money Is Basically Gone
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)

"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. (More Zika virus stories.)

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