Elizabeth Warren Releases Plan to Tackle Infectious Diseases

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren speaks during a campaign event Sunday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(CN) – As global concern continues to grow over the rapidly spreading coronavirus that’s killed more than 100 people in China and sickened thousands of others, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren released a plan Tuesday to prevent, contain and treat infectious diseases.

Warren’s latest policy proposal, released on her campaign website, includes calls to undo President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to federal pandemic prevention and response programs run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Massachusetts senator said she would “fully fund this work” and also restore an Obama-era White House leadership position for health security created in response to the Ebola epidemic.

“Instead of building capacity to combat these problems, Donald Trump has deprioritized global health security and risked putting us on our heels in a crisis,” Warren’s plan states.

The plan comes after weeks of infections attributed to the new Wuhan coronavirus, which health officials in China say has claimed 106 lives as of Tuesday. The death toll rose from the 81 deaths reported on Monday, with the number of confirmed cases also spiking overnight, according to China’s National Health Commission.

Five U.S. cases of the virus have been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Diseases like coronavirus remind us why we need robust international institutions, strong investments in public health, and a government that is prepared to jump into action at a moment’s notice,” Warren said.

The presidential hopeful makes moving to a Medicare for All system a central part of her plan, adding that “we all benefit when we stop the spread of infectious disease faster.” She also promised to make a $100 billion investment to end the opioid epidemic and prioritized ending the domestic HIV epidemic by 2025.

As part of the plan, Warren said her administration would also push to develop a universal flu vaccine and replenish funding for the Health and Human Service’s Public Health Emergency Fund to enable the agency to quickly respond to public health crises without waiting for congressional appropriation.

Warren is polling third in national surveys and fourth in Iowa with less than a week to go before the state’s Feb. 3 caucuses.

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