(Washington, DC – February 12, 2021) – The nation’s leading health and public health organizations today wrote to Congressional leaders recommending $4.5 billion in long term, additional annual funding for CDC and states, localities, tribes and territories to support public health infrastructure and workforce.
The letter, endorsed by 316 organizations, calls on Congress to include such funding in the next COVID-19 legislation to not only strengthen the response to the current pandemic but to better prepare the country for the next public health emergency. A significant, sustained investment is needed to support essential public health activities including disease surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory capacity, all-hazards preparedness and response, and policies to advance health equity, the letter said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is illustrating in the direst terms the consequences of underfunding public health,” the letter said. “For too long, the nation has neglected basic public health capacity, and the nation’s response to the pandemic reflects this chronic underfunding.”
The letter applauded Congress for taking quick action to provide funding for the initial pandemic response but also noted that short-term, supplemental funding does not allow public health to recruit and retain the workforce needed to protect the public’s health against a number of growing threats including surging levels of chronic disease, substance misuse and suicide, infectious disease and weather-related events.