As the Ebola outbreak continues to grow in Africa, President Obama is now asking for federal funds to fight the virus.
The White House is asking for $88 million to fund drugs and to cover the costs of sending personnel to the stricken areas of West Africa. This new amount is in addition to $175 million already allocated for the effort.
According to Politico, the funds for the effort have been transferred from “other accounts.”
These two most recent requests are just a part of a flurry of allocations made to help fight the deadly virus. Obama put $30 million toward costs for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an additional $58 million for the Biological Advanced Research and Development Authority to fund development, experimentation, and manufacturing of the promising Ebola-fighting drug ZMapp as well as other vaccines.
The CDC has already sent 100 operative to West Africa to track the disease.
“Prior to this week, the administration had estimated about $100 million had already been obligated from existing funds in response to the crisis,” Politico reported. “The Defense Department is an important player, accounting for close to half this or $47.4 million. The Department of Health and Human Services, of which CDC is part, was said to have committed $34.2 million and U.S. AID another $19.7 million.”
The administration also says that it will likely request even more in short order. It is expected that the $30 million going to the CDC will be spent quickly.
This outbreak is the worst outbreak in history, with a death toll that this week took a sharp uptick, going from 1,500 deaths to nearly 2,000 in the span of only a week.
Authorities in Africa reported 3,500 official cases of Ebola, up from 3,069 only a week ago.
“This is not an African disease. This is a virus that is a threat to all humanity,” special assistant to President Barack Obama and senior director at the National Security Council Gayle Smith said in a recent White House conference call.
Tom Kenyon of the CDC added, “There is a window of opportunity, but it’s closing with each and every day that we delay in getting measures in place.”
At a UN press briefing on Wednesday, World Health Organization director general Margaret Chan said that the “Ebola epidemic is the largest, and most severe, and most complex we have ever seen in the nearly 40-year history of this disease. No one, even outbreak responders, (has) ever seen anything like it.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.