THE NEW YORK TIMES – The White House is stepping up its warnings about a coronavirus surge this fall and winter, and is making contingency plans for how it will provide vaccines to the American public if Congress does not allocate more money for the Covid-19 response, according to a senior administration official.
With prospects for a fresh round of emergency coronavirus aid appearing shaky on Capitol Hill, administration officials met this week with key senators — including two leading Republicans — to press their case.
Democrats have been contemplating wrapping Covid aid into another emergency package for Ukraine, but it was unclear whether they will do so.
The White House has been asking Congress for $22.5 billion in emergency aid to continue responding to the pandemic, but Republicans have insisted on a much lower number — $10 billion — and have stripped $5 billion in global aid from the request.
Republicans are also insisting that the Biden administration suspend its plans to lift a public health order known as Title 42, which authorities have used to deport asylum-seekers during the pandemic.
The Biden administration is preparing for the possibility that 100 million Americans — roughly 30 percent of the population — will get infected with the coronavirus this fall and winter, according to the administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The 100 million figure is not as high as the total number of Americans known to have become infected with the highly contagious Omicron variant during the wave in December and January.
It is based on a range of outside models, though the official did not specify which ones, and assumes that a rapidly evolving virus in the Omicron family — not a new variant — will spread through a population with waning immunity against infection … READ MORE