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WASHINGTON – U.S. PIRG today echoed calls by public health officials for Congress to allocate $46.5 billion to fund contact tracing and isolation measures to contain the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Public health experts, including former Trump official Scott Gottlieb, who was previously the Food and Drug Administration’s administrator, and Andy Slavitt, who was the acting Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services administrator in the Obama administration, made this specific call on Monday.
Their plan includes: creating an expanded contact tracing workforce; using available hotel space for people who contract COVID-19 to self-isolate; and providing a per-person stipend, similar to jury duty, for people with COVID-19 who voluntarily self-isolate.
In response to this proposal, U.S. PIRG Vice President Allison Cairo issued the following statement:
“Public health experts have made it abundantly clear that in order to safely lift stay-at-home rules we must have fast, accurate and widely available testing. This is essential if we want to catch any future outbreaks of COVID-19 early. But any plan isn’t complete unless it includes contact tracing and the ability for people with the virus to self-isolate.
“Monday’s proposal would be a big step in the right direction. Simply put, you can’t ensure contract tracing and self-isolation without proper funding. When experienced public health experts are saying it will take $46.5 billion to make that happen Congress should act accordingly. We call on Congress to listen to the experts.”
U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.
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