President Obama Urges U.S. Congress To Act Quickly On Zika Funding; CDC Monitoring 279 Pregnant Women With Virus In U.S., Territories

ABC News: Zika Virus: President Obama Urges Congress to Pass Full Funding to Fight Virus
“President Obama urged Congress to pass the full $1.9 billion funding requested to fight the Zika virus hours after federal health officials reported a dramatic increase in the number of pregnant women being monitored for possible complications related to the virus…” (Mohney, 5/20).

Associated Press: Trying to get jump on Zika preparations with money in limbo
“Beg, borrow, and steal: Zika preparation involves a bit of all three as federal, state, and local health officials try to get a jump on the mosquito-borne virus while Congress haggles over how much money they really need…” (Loller et al., 5/23).

The Atlantic: The Count of American Zika Cases Just Got Bigger
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that 279 pregnant women in the United States and its territories have tested positive for the Zika virus, which can cause the birth defect microcephaly…” (Kelly, 5/20).

Bloomberg: Congress Must Act on Zika Money, Obama Says as Infections Grow
“…Obama, who met with Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, and other top health officials on Friday, expressed frustration that Congress has been slow to act on his request for about $1.9 billion to prepare for the virus. Health officials say they expect local transmission of Zika in the continental U.S. by the summer…” (Olorunnipa, 5/20).

CQ News: Administration Presses Congress to Back Robust Zika Funding
“…Frieden spoke to CQ shortly after meeting with Obama and other top health officials at the White House. Obama afterward scolded the House approach, saying that ‘it doesn’t make a lot of sense.’ The president strongly urged Congress to finish work on Zika funding next week. ‘They should not be going off on recess before this is done,’ Obama said…” (Siddons, 5/20).

Foreign Policy: Dramatic Rise in Zika Cases Among Pregnant Women in the U.S.
“…News of the dramatic rise in Zika cases comes at the end of a week in which the White House and Congress are at odds over how much should be allocated to stop Zika’s spread. President Barack Obama has asked for $1.9 billion to fight it. Earlier [last] week, the Senate agreed to give the president $1.1 billion. The House balked at providing new funding, allocating $622 million in existing spending to stop the virus, spread by mosquitoes and sexual contact…” (Francis, 5/20).

The Hill: Obama to Congress: Give me Zika funding or skip recess
“…The CDC said earlier Friday it is monitoring nearly 300 pregnant women with the Zika virus. About half — a total of 122 pregnant women — live in Puerto Rico, which has been hit hard by the outbreak…” (Sullivan, 5/20).

The Hill: Fauci: ‘We can’t take our eye off the ball with Ebola’
“The head of infectious disease research at the National Institutes of Health said on Sunday the U.S. still needs to focus on the battle against the Ebola virus, criticizing those who have said the money left over from the fight against Ebola could be put toward the Zika virus…” (Savransky, 5/22).

New York Times: Obama Chides Congress Over Zika Funding
“The House and Senate are gearing up for a push before a Memorial Day break that President Obama said Congress should not take unless it got some very specific business done. … But chances of a quick compromise on the legislation seem dim…” (Hulse, 5/23).

New York Times: CDC Is Monitoring 279 Pregnant Women With Possible Zika Virus Infections
“…The rising numbers of pregnant American women testing positive — Friday’s figure is more than double the previous count of 113 — reflect a new case definition used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rather than a surge in cases, according to Dr. Margaret Honein, the chief of the agency’s birth defects division…” (McNeil, 5/20).

POLITICO: CDC: Nearly 300 Zika cases in pregnant women in U.S. and territories
“…The figure, based on tests of women with symptoms of the disease, probably underestimates the total number, the agency said. All of the U.S. infections occurred in women who had traveled abroad or, in rare cases, contracted the virus by infected sexual partners who returned from areas where the Zika is prevalent. In Puerto Rico, the virus is being transmitted by mosquitoes…” (Allen, 5/20).

Reuters: U.S. reports 279 Zika cases in pregnant women, Obama pushes Congress on funds
“…Obama wants the U.S. Congress to provide close to $1.9 billion for vaccine development, faster diagnostic tests, and new tools for killing the mosquitoes that carry the virus, which can cause a rare birth defect in newborns and neurological disorders in adults. ‘We’ve got to get moving,’ Obama told reporters after meeting top health officials in the Oval Office…” (Pierson/Rampton, 5/20).

Science: Zika funding too low in House, Senate bills, Obama says
“…On 22 February the White House requested $1.885 billion. The emergency appropriations proposal — which went into fine detail — gave $1.509 billion to HHS (which oversees NIH and CDC), $335 million to the U.S. Agency for International Development, and $41 million to the State Department. It took legislators almost three months to mull over the request and respond. And what prompted Obama’s ire [Friday] is their stance on the amount of money to be allocated, when it can be spent, and the strings attached to its use…” (Cohen, 5/20).

Wall Street Journal: CDC Says 279 Pregnant Women in U.S., Territories Infected With Zika
“…Overall, the CDC says 544 people in U.S. states and 836 people in U.S. territories have tested positive for Zika and had symptoms or complications as of May 12. The new numbers provide more fodder for negotiations in Congress over funding to combat Zika in the U.S. The Senate has approved a $1.1 billion plan, while the House has passed a $622 million bill…” (McKay, 5/20).

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