WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dr. Ashish Jha, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, was a guest on ABC’s “This Week” this past Sunday, and warned that a potential new surge of COVID-19 could potentially hit the United States in the fall and winter seasons, just prior to the upcoming 2022 midterm elections.
Dr. Jha – who mentioned that a “new generation” of vaccines are being actively engineered – told host Martha Raddatz that individuals who are planning on attending indoor events may want to consider masking up once again, and said that it is vital that Congress allocate at least $22 billion in federal funding for COVID-related responses such as tests and treatments.
“One of the reasons I’ve been talking a lot about the need for Congress to step up and fund this effort, is if they don’t, Martha, we will go into the fall and winter without that next generation of vaccines, without treatments and diagnostics,” he said. “That’s going to make it much, much harder for us to take care of and protect Americans.”
Dr. Jha added that the Biden Administration is “planning for a variety of scenarios including a wave of infection this fall and winter” and that they are “making sure we have a new generation of vaccines that are being worked on right now, that we have availability of treatments and testing, and we have the resources.”
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However, the White House’s fervor over the potential COVID-19 surge this fall and winter does not appear to reflect the attitudes of the majority of average Americans, according to an Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index released last Wednesday; among those polled, 31 percent said that additional funding is needed, whereas 35 percent said that current funding is adequate, and 33 percent said too much funding is being allocated.
The poll also noted that 31 percent of those surveyed believe that the pandemic is over, whereas 71 percent believe that COVID is still a cause for concern, but can be managed; only 14 percent still believe that it is a serious health risk.
Indeed, the Axios/Ipsos poll’s results overall seems to indicate that many Americans are looking at COVID-19 in the rearview mirror, or at the very least, are prepared to accept it as an everyday part of life going forward – similar to the flu – and are determined to get back to “normal” as much as possible.
However, Dr. Jha warned that if proper precautions are not taken, the country could have a repeat of the increase in COVID cases that were attributed to the Delta and Omicron variants in 2021; currently, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the current seven-day average is seeing approximately 3,000 people a day being admitted to hospitals due to COVID infections, although actual death rates from the virus are currently extremely low.