Biden Invests $2.1 Billion in Infection Control

Lindsay Kalter

September 17, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

The Biden administration today announced an investment of $2.1 billion to improve infection prevention and control for COVID-19 and future infectious diseases — the largest allocation of its kind in the American history.

Distribution will begin this October and will go toward improving lab capacity, training health care workers, expanding data, and helping nursing homes where staff are particularly spread thin.

"The bottom line is this: Infection prevention and control saves lives across the health care sector," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said during a Friday White House briefing, "whether stopping the spread of SARS-CoV-2 or containing the spread of other infectious diseases, including drug-resistant infections."

In-hospital infections went up in 2020 after consistently declining for several years, she said.

The funds will be distributed over the next 3 years. This October, the CDC will use $500 million to deploy "strike teams" to help nursing homes and long-term care facilities beef up staff and give COVID-19 booster shots. 

The money, authorized as part of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, will be spread among 6,000 hospitals, 15,400 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, 7,900 dialysis clinics, and 4,700 ambulatory surgery centers.

A total of $880 million will go toward health care partners, academic institutions, and nonprofits to develop new prevention strategies and data collection. 

"Funding will provide significant resources to our public health departments and health care systems and opportunities to develop innovative strategies to protect every segment of the U.S. population, especially those disproportionately affected by the pandemic, at a time that they are hit hard," Walensky said.

The COVID-19 White House team also provided an update on immunizations: More than 210 million people — 75% of people ages 12 or older — have gotten at least their first shot. There are 180 million Americans who are fully vaccinated. But there is still work to do, the team said — 70 million people have yet to receive their first shot.

SOURCE:

News briefing, White House COVID-19 Response Team, Sept. 17, 2021.

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