Following recent events threatening the health of New Jerseyans, Rep. Josh Gottheimer pushed for a boost in federal investment to combat coronavirus.
In a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, the congressman requested emergency supplemental appropriations asked from Congress.
“It is critical that your Department has the resources needed to fully combat this virus and prevent the further spread within the U.S,” Gottheimer wrote.
“Recently, my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee wrote to you urging you to request emergency supplemental resources to respond to this crisis,” he stated. ”I join their call for you to submit this request for any needed emergency resources to Congress to attack the novel Coronavirus head on.”
According to the most recent reporting from the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than 43,000 confirmed coronavirus cases globally. The WHO has rated the global risk of the virus as ‘high.’
Gottheimer request is the latest in a concerted effort by New Jersey state and federal officials to fight the spread in New Jersey.
Gov. Phil Murphy created a Coronavirus Task Force on Feb. 3 to coordinate all state efforts to appropriately prepare for and respond to the public health hazard posed by the virus.
The day before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) required some passengers arriving from China at Newark Liberty International Airport to face a mandatory 14-day quarantine in an effort to slow the spread of a virus.
Then on Feb. 7, four passengers on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship that docked in Bayonne were tested after showing signs of the novel coronavirus. Three of the four people stayed in a cabin together and were diagnosed with the flu. The other person stayed in a separate cabin and did not have any symptoms.
Additionally, Sen. Bob Menendez wants the federal government to fully fund pandemic preparedness and response efforts in light of the global outbreak.