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Global Health Thought Leadership

The CDC Foundation Activates Its Emergency Response Fund to Support CDC’s Coronavirus Efforts

By Judy Monroe, MD

The new coronavirus 2019-nCoV emphasizes that a health threat anywhere is a health threat everywhere. In recent weeks, 2019-nCoV was detected in Wuhan City, China, and the virus has spread to a growing number of countries, including the United States. And just a few days ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern.

To protect the health of Americans and other countries, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been taking aggressive public health measures. Additionally, CDC requested that the CDC Foundation activate our Emergency Response Fund to provide support to address rapidly emerging response needs.

We activated our Emergency Response Fund on January 27, and I want to offer a special word of thanks to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), which stepped forward with a catalytic donation of $1 million. Over the years, RWJF has provided incredible support in many CDC Foundation emergency response efforts with CDC, ranging from the Haiti earthquake to the West Africa Ebola outbreak to support for hurricane response in U.S. territories.

Of course, more support for the coronavirus response effort is needed, and we hope RWJF’s generous donation will encourage others to step forward to meet the evolving needs, which include additional support for state and local health departments, support for the global response, logistics, communications, data management, personal protective equipment, critical response supplies and more.

I also want to acknowledge the incredible effort being put forward by the team at CDC, which is mounting a robust response. First, CDC proactively prepared for the introduction of 2019-nCoV in the United States for weeks, including putting out alerts, creating guidance for clinicians for testing, developing a diagnostic test to detect the virus and implementing public health entry screenings at U.S. airports. Since these efforts, CDC has continued to work closely with the World Health Organization and state and local public health partners to respond to the outbreak.

Make no mistake that government support is absolutely essential in tackling health threats such as this novel coronavirus. But we know that philanthropic and private sector support is also critical for use alongside government funding—to address needs that arise in rapidly evolving situations where speed and flexibility are paramount to saving and protecting lives. That’s why flexible philanthropic and private sector support is imperative.

I hope you will consider making a donation to the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund and ensure CDC has what it needs to meet the rapidly changing circumstances and needs on the ground.

Make a lifesaving donation today.


Judy Monroe, MD, is president and CEO of the CDC Foundation.

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