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Rep. John Katko wants federal agencies to develop plans for future COVID-19 spikes
COVID-19

Rep. John Katko wants federal agencies to develop plans for future COVID-19 spikes

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COVID-19

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S.

A bill proposed by U.S. Rep. John Katko would require federal government agencies to develop response plans for another surge in COVID-19 cases. 

Katko, R-Camillus, introduced the legislation on Tuesday. Federal agencies would draft plans and submit them to Congress. The plans would include details on how they would respond to future spikes in COVID-19 cases. 

The plans would include the agency's goals, challenges they may face during an outbreak and how they would communicate with Congress. 

"With reports of COVID-19 spiking in most states, central New York working families, frontline health care workers and business owners are concerned that we will experience a 'second wave,'" Katko said. "With our community still confronting the devastating impacts of COVID-19, we cannot in good faith move forward without learning from the missteps made by those overseeing the response effort." 

The legislation comes as many states have reported a high number of COVID-19 cases. New York has gone against the trend. The state reported 588 new cases on Tuesday. By comparison, Florida reported 7,347 new cases. 

Nationwide, there have been nearly 3 million cases and more than 130,000 deaths due to COVID-19. 

There are concerns that there might be a larger spike — the so-called "second wave" — in the fall. Katko and the Democratic sponsor of the bill, U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, want the federal government to be prepared for that scenario. 

"Congress has a duty to assure the American people that the federal government is doing everything in its power to beat back the dual health and economic crises of this pandemic," Schneider said. "The COVID PREPARE Act will provide bipartisan oversight and full transparency into both the planning and execution of our national response." 

Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.

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