$2.1 Billion Going to Infection Prevention Efforts

Infection Control TodayInfection Control Today, November 2021 (Vol. 25 No. 9)
Volume 25
Issue 9

The allocations are scheduled to begin next month, with initial awards totaling $885, of which $500 million will go to what the CDC calls “strike teams” that will focus on nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

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he Biden administration unveiled a $2.1 billion package on September 17, 2021, to improve infection prevention and control measures against COVID-19 and other emerging infectious diseases as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, director of the CDC, said in a news release that the “funding will provide significant resources to our public health departments and health care systems and opportunities to develop innovative strategies to protect every segment of the US population, especially those disproportionately affected by the pandemic, at a time that they are hit hard.”1

Just how much Walensky pushed for this move is unclear, but when she became CDC director earlier this year many infection preventionists took heart because of her extensive background in infection prevention and control. Priya Nori, MD, medical director of the antimicrobial stewardship program at Montefiore Health System, told Infection Control Today® during a Q&A in March that “the infectious disease community in particular is incredibly thrilled about the new CDC director. She is a woman who spent her years researching HIV, who was seeing patients for many years—who knows what it is like to be on the front lines.”2

Over the next 3 years, the CDC plans to issue $1.25 billion of the funding to 64 state, local, and territorial health departments to support the effort. The funding will go to about 6000 hospitals, 15,400 nursing homes and other LTCFs, 7900 dialysis clinics, and 4700 ambulatory surgery centers. The allocations total $885 million, of which $500 million will go to what the CDC calls “strike teams” that will focus on LTCFs. The CDC says the strike teams “will allow state and other jurisdictional health departments to staff, train, and deploy strike teams to assist skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities with known or suspected COVID-19 outbreaks. The strike teams will allow jurisdictions to provide surge capacity to facilities for clinical services; address staffing shortages at facilities; and strengthen infection prevention and control activities to prevent, detect, and contain outbreaks, including support for COVID-19 vaccine boosters.”

In addition, the funding is meant to:

  • Strengthen states’ capacity to prevent, detect, and contain infectious disease threats across health care settings: This will involve significant infection prevention and control assistance to public health departments to work with health care facilities to improve quality of health care, and efforts to minimize infection in various health care settings.
  • Increase laboratory capacity for health care: This will improve surveillance of emerging pathogens to better identify patients infected with non–COVID-19 pathogens such as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales3 and Candida auris.4 “Throughout the pandemic, there have been outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant pathogens in COVID-19 units and other health care settings,” the CDC states.
  • Project Firstline5: Funding will be increased for this effort meant to teach basic infection prevention and control methods to all health care workers.
  • National Healthcare Safety Network: The CDC hopes to increase funding for states to better monitor infections in health care settings.
  • Antibiotic Stewardship: Money will help in analyses of data about antibiotic use and will improve antibiotic prescribing, according to the CDC. “Despite being ineffective against COVID-19, antibiotics have been commonly prescribed to patients during the pandemic, increasing the risk of antibiotic resistance,” the CDC states.


  1. CDC to invest $2.1 billion to protect patients and healthcare workers from COVID-19 and future infectious diseases. News release. CDC. September 17, 2021. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p0917-COVID-19-funding.html
  2. Diamond F. Infection preventionists will be needed even more after COVID. Infection
    Today®. March 31, 2021. Accessed October 3, 2021. https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/view/infection-preventionists-will-be-needed-even-more-after-covid
  3. Saunders H. Antimicrobial resistance is futile without IPs’ help. Infection
    Today®. 2021;25(7):26-27.
  4. Dyer J. COVID unleashes the ‘lurking scourge’ candida
    auris. Infection
    Today®. 2020;24(10):20-22.
  5. Diamond F. CDC launches $180M anti-infection program for healthcare workers. Infection
    Today®. October 28, 2020. Accessed October 3, 2021. https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/view/cdc-launches-180m-anti-infection-program-for-healthcare-workers
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