Wyden Urges Greater Support for Pregnant Patients, Infants Amid COVID-19

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today urged additional, robust funding for the federal Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies program in the next COVID-19 stimulus package.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) program helps to detect and respond to public health crises’ impact on pregnant and postpartum individuals, as well as infants and young children, in real-time. In a letter to Congressional leaders, Wyden, along with nine other senators, raised concerns about the lack of research or support despite the potential increased risk to pregnant individuals and infants from COVID-19.

“Pregnant patients are at a higher risk of severe illness when infected with respiratory viruses similar to COVID-19, such as influenza, and most prenatal and postpartum patients and their infants interact with the health care system at higher rates than the average American due to number of prenatal, postpartum, and labor and delivery services needed to ensure their continued health and safety,” the senators wrote. “Yet, to date, CDC has not released sufficient recommendations specific to the care, evaluation, or management of COVID-19 for pregnant patients or infants.”

“Unfortunately, the program has not received sufficient funding in recent years to sustain a nationwide, real-time system to identify and respond to threats to this at-risk population. Now, more than ever, is it critical that this program is provided with $100 million in emergency funding to ensure support for vulnerable communities, health departments, and at-risk families across the country throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” the senators continued.

Joining Wyden on the letter were U.S. Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Tom Carper, D-Del., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

A copy of the letter is available here.

A web version of this release is available here.