Omicron Chaos: Democrats Warn Biden May Need a Second Coronavirus Stimulus

FILE — Stephane Labossiere, right, with the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, hands o
Mark Lennihan, File / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Democrat lawmakers have warned another round of federal coronavirus stimulus aid may be necessary in the wake of the emergence of the omicron variant of the virus.

Despite Biden’s 2020 promise he would shut down the virus before announcing in July the United States was closer to “declaring our independence from a deadly virus,” the appearance of the omicron variant has caused Democrats to wonder if additional coronavirus aid is necessary.

“The omicron variant is already affecting restaurants,” Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) told the Washington Post. “Even a small decrease in business can cause independent restaurants to close their doors. We saw this starkly at the beginning of covid last spring … I think omicron certainly complicates that.”

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) noted New York State is struggling with coronavirus so greatly that he will introduce a new package of aid even as inflation has reached a 40-year high.

“I’m going to push to get another package through Congress,” Bowman said.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) told the Post more coronavirus aid would not be necessary if they passed President Biden’s massive tax and spend agenda. Sen. Joe Manchin tanked Biden’s $1.9 trillion Build Back Better package Sunday when he announced he would not vote for it.

“I think that the big thing covid exposed is all of these gaps in our health-care system, in our child-care system, in our paid-leave system, and that’s what [Build Back Better] was about … so we don’t have these big gaps when these issues hit,” Jayapal said.

Another round of coronavirus aid is not the only worrisome situation facing the Biden administration.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning about the Johnson and Johnson vaccine over blood clots. “TTS [Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome] is a serious, but rare, adverse event that causes blood clots with low platelets,” the CDC wrote.

Further health care-related complications arise as the supply chain crisis continues. On Monday, the Health Industry Distributors’ Association revealed up to 12,000 shipping containers full of medical supplies are delayed due to President Biden’s supply chain crisis.

“Per their projections, medical supplies arriving at a U.S. port on Christmas Day won’t be delivered to hospitals and other care settings until February 2022,” Axios reported. “That could delay critical supplies at a time when health care is already expected to most need them due to surges from Delta and Omicron.”

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø


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