Here’s what will happen if Congress doesn’t pony up more money to fight COVID, says Dr. Jha

“Its time for Congress to step up and protect the American people. The pandemic is not over.”

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha gestures as he speaks at a daily press conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on April 26, in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

If Congress doesn’t approve more funding for the COVID-19 response, the future of the virus in the United States will likely be a grim one, Dr. Ashish Jha said on Twitter Thursday.

President Joe Biden’s administration is ready to push lawmakers to approve more COVID-19 relief funding when Congress returns next week from a recess, according to CNN

The administration released a fact sheet Wednesday that focused on the need for additional funding and the “consequences of congressional inaction.” Jha — the White House coronavirus response coordinator, currently on short-term leave from his position as dean of the Brown University School of Public Health — echoed the main points on Twitter. 

The consequences of Congress deciding to “give up,” as Jha puts it, are “not pretty.” 


First, Jha said a lack of more funding means the United States will run out of treatments for COVID-19. 

“So if you get COVID later this year, there will be no treatments available for you,” Jha wrote. “And no, your insurer won’t be able to step in and buy it instead (for a whole host of reasons).”

Perhaps an even bigger problem with regards to COVID therapies is the purchase of newly developed treatments, Jha said. There are new treatments coming and, according to Jha, countries are lining up to purchase them, but the United States can’t be among them without more funding. 

“The Administration has secured more than 1 million courses of Evusheld, a preventive therapy for immunocompromised people,” the fact sheet says. “Due to lack of funding, we have had to substantially scale back our plans to purchase additional supply.”

The woes extend to vaccines too.

“Without more funding we won’t get the next generation of vaccines. Yup — we may get new vaccines this fall, vaccines that may be even more effective and durable,” Jha said. “Contracts for those vaccines will need to be negotiated soon. … If Congress fails to act…. We won’t get those vaccines. Others will.”


According to the fact sheet, the United States currently has enough supply for one booster shot for Americans ages 12 and up, with additional boosters for immunocompromised people or those over 50. 

“Other countries are already placing orders for future needs and as a result, will get supply before it is available for Americans,” reads the fact sheet. “Not having enough supply to support booster shots for everyone, if needed, puts American lives at risk, and is a completely avoidable outcome.”

Testing supply will also dry up, Jha said. 

“We have made big efforts to build up domestic manufacturing. But with demand down, those manufacturing lines are getting shuttered,” Jha tweeted. “Without funding, we won’t be able to stockpile enough tests or keep domestic manufacturers afloat. So when the next surge hits — we may not have the tests we need. And will rely on manufacturers in other countries to send us tests. If they can.”

According to the fact sheet, federal investments are crucial to keep domestic test manufacturing capacity at the level it is now. Without investments, manufacturers will need months to ramp back up in the face of any future surges and people could see empty store shelves and long lines at testing sites once again. 


“All of this is preventable. None of this needs to happen. But Congress needs to act. The longer they wait, the further back in line we fall,” Jha wrote. “It’s time for Congress to step up and protect the American people. The pandemic is not over.”

Read Jha’s full thread here:


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