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State public health advocates rally against $300M in proposed budget cuts

Public health officials and front-line health care workers across California are sounding the alarm on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget revision that proposes $300 million in proposed cuts.

The groups warn that the proposed cuts to public health services would turn back the clock on the state’s readiness to fight disease, repeating the very mistakes that cost lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The warning comes amid threats of other infectious diseases as well as possible bio-terror attacks. The federal Bipartisan Commission on Bio-Defense has revealed that the next pandemic could be worse and yet the U.S. is poorly prepared, unorganized and not well funded, according to its report released in April.

In the report, the commission lists a number of recommendations on what the country should do right away not only to prepare for the next pandemic but also to protect the U.S. from a bio-terror attack.

One suggestion is to replace Biowatch, the national biological detection system that was created after the anthrax attacks of 2001. The system uses aerosol detection technology developed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the commission says that technology is ineffectual.

Meanwhile, the California public health officials and advocates will hold a 10 a.m. news conference Monday to urge state lawmakers to reject Newsom’s proposed $300 million in budget cuts.

Newsom says the state has a budget shortfall of more than $27 billion and that, according to the Sacramento Bee, “we have to be sober about the reality of what our priorities are.”

Source: NBC Bay Area

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