Local officials urge emergency funding towards coronavirus research, prevention efforts


NEW HAVEN, Conn. WTNH) — The coronavirus outbreak has now infected more than 60,000 worldwide and killed over 1,300 people.

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal is raising a red flag about President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to key federal health agencies and is calling on Congress to provide emergency funding for research and disease prevention.

“There are many unknowns,” said Dr. Mehul Dalal, Community Services Administrator.

There are more than 64,000 confirmed cases of the deadly coronavirus.

RELATED: WHO gives the novel coronavirus a new name: COVID-19

A health map put together by a group of researchers shows how the virus could turn into a worldwide pandemic, moving from Asia to Europe, and even Boston.

“A pandemic that engulfs the world in coronavirus is preventable but only if we invest in the vaccines, the prevention steps, in other measures that make sense,” said Blumenthal .

With the elm city and its bio-science startups as a backdrop, city officials joined Senator Blumenthal Friday to oppose $1.9 trillion in proposed cuts to the federal budget they say hurt public health.

“This is the wrong direction for us to go in, especially now,” said Mayor Justin Elicker.

The Trump Administration’s budget cuts the National Institute Of Health, or NIH, budget by 34 percent and the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, by nearly 10 percent. Agencies local health officials depend on.

RELATED: Trump on coronavirus: It will be ‘gone by April’

“It is that guidance we rely on to set up our public health infrastructure and response protocols here at the city and at the state,” said Dr. Dalal.

“It impacts us significantly to be able to ensure number one quality of life for those that are needed for services that we offer,” said Martiza Bond, Health Director, New Haven.

Blumenthal says he’s urging his colleagues in Congress, on both sides of the aisle, to oppose the cuts before it’s too late.

“They will be bipartisan. Already many of my Republican colleagues are expressing dismay over these cuts,” said Blumenthal.

So far there’s only been one confirmed case on the east coast – in Boston, a man in his 20s.

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