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Biden’s Proposed Health Budget Focuses On Preparing For Possible Pandemics

The budget does not cover funding the White House has said it needs to ensure COVID-19 tests, vaccines and treatments remain affordable for Americans.

President Joe Biden.
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CHICAGO — President Joe Biden’s newly proposed budget for the federal health department focuses on preparing for another pandemic.

The budget suggests providing $82 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services “to prevent, detect and respond to emerging biological catastrophes,” according to The New York Times. That money would be used to help fund vaccines and treatments should another pandemic emerge, among other programs.

But the money does not cover funding the White House has said it needs to ensure COVID-19 tests, vaccines and treatments remain readily available and affordable for Americans.

The White House has warned it’s out of funding that allowed things like COVID-19 tests and vaccine shots to be administered at no cost for people regardless of their insurance status. Money for those initiatives must be approved by Congress as part of a separate package.

Chicago officials have said vaccine shots will remain free, but they’re looking to save money where they can due to the budget shortfall. That means the city is reducing who’s eligible to get a $50 incentive per COVID-19 vaccine shot, for example.

But Biden’s proposed budget would include funding for some COVID-related programs, like $10 billion in funding for the federal, state and local health departments to monitor and research long COVID, according to the Times.

Vaccinations:

• In Illinois, about 8.1 million people — or 64.3 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.

• Across the state, 7,107 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 21,333,503 vaccine doses of the 25,787,345 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.8 million Chicagoans — or 70.2 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 77.2 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot.

Everyone 5 and older is eligible to get vaccinated in Chicago.

COVID-19 vaccinations are free and do not require insurance. Anyone can call the city’s coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 to get more information on how and where to get vaccinated in their community.

The numbers:

• Since Friday, 21 Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19.

• At least 33,328 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 4,283 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 3,511 cases since Friday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 3,063,735.

• Since Friday, 186,339 tests were reported statewide. In all, 57,077,967 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day case positivity rate was at 1.5 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 1.4 percent Friday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 1.7 percent. It was at 1.6 percent Friday.

• As of Sunday night, 59 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 31 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, one death was reported since Friday. There have been at least 7,327 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of less than one person dying per day, down 64 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago has had 586 confirmed cases reported since Friday. It’s had a total of 565,068 confirmed cases. An average of 188 confirmed cases are being reported per day, up 35 percent from a week ago.

• Testing in Chicago is down 5 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 1 percent, up from .7 percent a week ago.

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