Dear Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy:
We, the New York State Congressional Delegation, write to you today to express our strong support for robust funding for the Centers and Disease Control (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in the imminent COVID-19 supplemental. Our state has persevered through the burden of being the epicenter throughout each variant and flare-up of the pandemic. We are determined to continue to build upon the progress that has been made to eradicate the virus and establish our new normal. Additional federal resources for HRSA and CDC are critical to maintaining our swift response to COVID-19.
At the height of the Omicron surge, New York reached a record of greater than 90,000 cases per day. This was even higher than the rampant spread beginning in March 2020 that originally shuttered our businesses, forced children out of schools, and overloaded our hard-working medical professionals and healthcare systems. The difference was that the state was prepared with the testing kits, vaccine doses, and treatment options needed to recover rapidly. As the latest subvariant, B.A.2, begins to rise, we ask for sufficient federal support to continue to respond to the challenges of the pandemic. Despite the volume of need in New York, the state has developed the strongest testing infrastructure in the United States. Without proper funding, this will change. A major preventer of severe illness thus far has been the drug Paxlovid. One hospitalization is prevented for every twenty patients treated with Paxlovid, but to know who needs treatment, we need to sustain testing access.
Additionally, the COVID-19 Supplemental Resources must include the maximum funding possible for the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC). We have consistently relied on the data and recommendations provided by the CDC to protect our community and safely reopen. The critical research conducted by the CDC must continue at its full capacity.
Finally, please include robust funding in the Supplemental for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which reimburse medical providers for serving uninsured patients. To maintain a healthy community and stop the spread of the virus, we must continue to provide health care to all New Yorkers, regardless of socioeconomic level. Failing to do so will discourage many from seeking testing and potentially severely strain our public infrastructure.
As our country finally begins to enjoy life similar to the pre-COVID days, it is more important than ever that we do not let our guard down and allow the virus to ravage our communities. In the wake of the past two years, we must apply the lessons we have learned to improve public health and prevent any more tragedy. Again, thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to your response.