U.S. President Obama To Request $1.8B In Emergency Funding For Zika; CDC Raises Emergency Operations To Highest Level

News outlets report on the Obama administration’s announcement of a request for $1.8 billion in emergency funding to respond to the Zika virus, as well as the CDC’s activation of the agency’s highest emergency operations level.

ABC News: Zika Virus Outbreak Prompts CDC to Activate Highest Emergency Ops Level
“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emergency Operations Center has been moved to Level 1, the agency’s highest level, due to the risk of Zika virus transmission in the U.S., officials said [Monday]. … The highest level activation means the CDC staff will work around the clock to combat a critical emergency. The three other Level 1 activations have been to combat Ebola, to combat H1N1 influenza in 2009, and after Hurricane Katrina…” (Mohney, 2/8).

Agence France-Presse: Obama calls for $1.8 billion to fight Zika
“President Barack Obama on Monday asked for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funds to tackle the fast-spreading Zika virus in the United States and beyond…” (Beatty, 2/8).

The Atlantic: The White House’s Plans for Zika
“…The proposal [for $1.8 billion in emergency funding] wasn’t unexpected, as members of Congress in recent days had been asking the administration to lay out its next steps and keep Congress updated on the anti-Zika effort. Now, the White House is telling members not to delay in approving the funding…” (Kelly, 2/8).

CIDRAP News: Obama seeks $1.8 billion for Zika response; CDC ups emergency level
“…The largest chunk of the funds — $1.48 billion — would go to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and within it, the CDC. Funding is targeted, for example, to improving mosquito control efforts, improving surveillance, boosting lab capacity and infrastructure, establishing rapid response teams if clusters are detected in the United States, and monitoring for pregnancy and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) risks…” (Schnirring, 2/8).

Financial Times: Obama asks Congress for $1.8bn to battle Zika virus
“… ‘Congressional action on the administration’s request will accelerate our ability to prevent, detect, and respond to the Zika virus and bolster our ability to reduce the potential for future infectious disease outbreaks,’ the White House said…” (Jopson, 2/8).

The Hill: Obama launches Zika funding push
“…Several lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), were quick to support the White House’s emergency funding request. But leaders of the health and national security committees were noncommittal about the funding package, saying they will wait to hear directly from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in a Tuesday briefing…” (Fabian/Ferris, 2/8).

The Hill: Obama: Zika is not Ebola
“President Obama says that the Zika virus that is spreading quickly across the Western Hemisphere is not as dangerous as Ebola, but is stressing on his administration is taking it seriously…” (Fabian, 2/8).

Newsweek: Obama Asks Congress for $1.8 Billion in Emergency Funding to Fight Zika Virus
“…Obama’s proposal also includes an appeal for an additional $250 million in federal assistance in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico for women and children who are at risk of infection or have been diagnosed with microcephaly…” (Gorman, 2/8).

New York Times: Obama Asks Congress for $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika Virus
“…An additional $200 million would go to research and development of a vaccine. That process could take some time, the officials said…” (Landler, 2/8).

Reuters: Obama seeks funds to fight Zika; sees no cause for panic
“…Obama’s funding request to Congress includes $335 million for the U.S. Agency for International Development to support mosquito-control, maternal health, and other Zika-related public health efforts in affected countries in the Americas…” (Rampton/Hirschler, 2/8).

Roll Call: Zika Virus Funding Met With Caution in Congress
“…Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell is set to brief Senate leaders and relevant committee leaders Tuesday on the virus … ‘The two areas where we’ll want to get a better understanding at the briefing: Number one, what are the preparations being made to protect Americans? Number two, what are the administration’s funding priorities given limited federal resources?’ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor Monday…” (Bowman, 2/8).

Wall Street Journal: White House to Request $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika Virus
“…A robust federal response by the Obama administration is especially critical to Democrats, who were stung by criticism over the administration’s response to the Ebola crisis in the U.S. Senate Democrats are urging the president to learn from that experience, and a Senate committee is planning a Feb. 24 hearing on the virus…” (Armour/Lee, 2/8).

Washington Post: $1.8 billion to fight Zika: CDC moves to highest alert level
“…The administration said the money it has requested would go to expanding mosquito-control programs; accelerating vaccine research and diagnostic development; enabling the testing and procurement of vaccines and diagnostics; educating health care providers, pregnant women and their partners; improving epidemiology and expanding laboratory and diagnostic testing capacity; improving health services and supports for low-income pregnant women; and enhancing the ability of Zika-affected countries to better combat mosquitoes and control transmission…” (Mufson/Sun, 2/8).

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