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President Biden asks for more funding and Hong Kong’s death toll strains mortuaries: The week in Covid news.

todayApril 2, 2022 8

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Although the U.S. government is running low on money for medications, vaccines and testing, Senate Democrats and Republicans neared agreement to cut by more than half President Biden’s request for $22.5 billion in emergency coronavirus relief aid.

“We need to secure additional supply now,” Mr. Biden said on Wednesday, shortly before receiving his second booster shot. “We can’t wait until we find ourselves in the midst of another surge to act. It’ll be too late.”

That sentiment seemed especially timely because the highly transmissible Omicron subvariant known as BA.2, which led to a surge of coronavirus cases in Europe and Asia, has become the dominant version of the virus in new U.S. cases, according to estimates that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, federal regulators, concerned that the subvariant could lead to a surge in the United States, too, authorized second booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines for everyone 50 and older.

Some parts of the country are already registering upticks in cases. For instance, after a noticeable increase in new cases in New York City, Mayor Eric Adams announced on Friday that a mask mandate would be kept in place for preschoolers under 5, who are too young to be vaccinated.

Here’s what else happened this week:

  • In Hong Kong, the death toll rose so fast this week that the city’s crematories are under pressure and there is a shortage of coffins. More than 90 percent of all the territory’s deaths linked to the virus occurred in the past 30 days. Carrie Lam, the city’s chief executive, said on Saturday that residents should test themselves each day from April 8 to April 10 using rapid antigen kits distributed by the government, and report positive results within 24 hours.

  • Health experts warned that Black Americans have not been sufficiently included in long-Covid trials, treatment programs and registries. A report released on Tuesday outlined how disinvestment in health care in Black communities contributed to higher rates of infection, leading to greater risk of serious illness or death. The report also raised concerns of the possibility of a greater prevalence of long Covid in the Black community and a lack of access to treatment.

  • Data released Thursday from the C.D.C. suggests high levels of stress among teenagers during the pandemic. In a nationwide survey of 7,705 high school students conducted in the first half of 2021, 44 percent described persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness that prevented them from participating in normal activities, and 9 percent reported a suicide attempt. The survey also found high rates of reported emotional and physical abuse in the home.

  • The White House launched a new coronavirus website:, to help find access to testing, treatment, vaccines and masks.

Lauren McCarthy contributed reporting.

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todayApril 2, 2022 9