Senate Minority Leader and New York’s senior Senator, Charles Schumer, implored President Donald Trump and his administration on Sunday to extend the country’s public health emergency declaration put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
As it stands, the declaration is set to expire on July 25 where New York would lose billions in local healthcare dollars and support from FEMA along with the public health implications that would come with a potential second wave of the virus.
Last week, New York received $300,000,000 in federal healthcare help that was dispersed across the state. It’s a portion of the combined $2.5 billion secured for New York as part of the Families First Coronavirus stimulus package, which is connected to the emergency declaration.
FEMA has also obligated approximately $1.1 billion to New York under the state’s COVID Major Disaster Declaration and will stop funding the state once the declaration expires.
“If we have learned anything from COVID-19 it is that a ‘stitch in time saves nine,’ and the more we can do to be proactive, the better off the public will be,” Schumer said. “This past winter there was delay and dismissal towards those urging HHS to officially declare a public health emergency as it relates to the coronavirus. Well, we cannot — and we must not—have that kind of inaction and uncertainty now, especially with what we know and with the sustaining needs of New York. We need the public health emergency extended ASAP to keep healthcare dollars and FEMA funds flowing to this state, and we need the declaration to keep our local health departments fully supported. The clock is ticking as July dawns, so we need this action now.”
Such an expiration of the declaration would also see the CDC’s Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund locked up, which would halt support for local health departments and staffing in New York City.
Still, while numerous states and areas around the country experience a spike in coronavirus cases, New York’s numbers are trending in the right direction.
On Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York experienced its lowest numbers of hospitalizations and deaths from the virus since March 15.
That’s no reason to exhale, a notion pushed by Cuomo and reiterated by Schumer.
“New York is by no means out of the woods with the coronavirus, especially given the upticks we are seeing in other states and the risk those upticks pose here when you take travel into account,” Schumer added. “Extending this declaration will keep New York positioned to both respond and to keep fighting.”