Billions spent on coronavirus fight, but what happens next?
Dr. Mysheika W. Roberts, the health commissioner for Columbus Public Health, poses for a portrait in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Public health officials who have juggled bare-bones budgets for years are happy to have the additional money prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet they worry it will soon dry up as the pandemic recedes, continuing a boom-bust funding cycle that has plagued the U.S. public health system for decades. If budgets are slashed again, they warn, that could leave the nation where it was before covid: unprepared for a health crisis. “We need funds that we can depend on year after year,” says Roberts. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon/AP)
MICHELLE R. SMITH, LAUREN WEBER and HANNAH RECHT Associated Press and KHN