Meeting Urgent Needs in the COVID-19 Response
By Judy Monroe, MD
Heading into an emergency response you know one thing: needs going into the crisis will always evolve and change. That’s to be expected, so it is essential organizations have flexibility to adapt to whatever is occurring on the ground. Since I’ve been at the CDC Foundation for four years now, I have been reminded of this fact in each response—Zika, hurricanes, Ebola and again in the current COVID-19 response.
To date, the CDC Foundation team has mobilized support and is working closely with our colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine needs that are arising where government funding is not available or available in time to meet the need. And needs are rising, along with the spread of coronavirus, which has infected over 89,000 people, primarily in China, in 60 countries, including cases and now two deaths in the United States.
Through the generous support of our donors and partners, one of the ways we are helping is by building capacity of labs that are testing travelers and individuals for COVID-19 in this country. To date, our team has worked with CDC to support a variety of needs in 11 public health laboratories, from facilitating purchases of lab supplies and equipment to preparing to cover overtime for lab workers in some state and local labs.
And we’ve been doing more to meet rapidly evolving needs. As media have reported, many citizens and travelers who have been in areas with the COVID-19 widely circulating have been returned to the United States and placed into quarantine to protect the health of these individuals as well as all of us. As you might imagine, these individuals have been through a difficult time. But they are helping fulfill an important civic duty.
So, as needs have arisen for travelers who have been delayed or for those in quarantine, CDC Foundation support has been used to help ease some of the difficulty these individuals are facing. This support includes providing personal care items, supplies for infants, activities for children, and much more. All of this support is aimed at offering some sense of normalcy for these individuals who have been through so much. You can learn more about our response to date here.
On behalf of the CDC Foundation, I want to thank our incredible donors—individuals, philanthropies, organizations and corporations—who have stepped forward to provide much needed support. We could not do what is needed without your incredible trust and generosity.
And while we have been pleased to meet so many initial needs, we know that much more will be required as part of the COVID-19 response efforts in the weeks and months ahead, both in the United States and in other parts of the world. I hope you will learn more about our work and be a part of this critical response.