K-12 schools could use the funding to install air filtration and ventilation systems, ultraviolet disinfecting equipment, touchless bathroom fixtures, and other technology.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office declined to say whether he supports the initiative. After declining to boost public health budgets in the first year of the pandemic, Newsom, a Democrat, last year proposed $300 million in new state funding annually for state and local public health departments. It was approved and begins in the coming fiscal year, which starts July 1.
The backers of the public health initiative have launched other pandemic-related efforts aimed at helping government better respond to COVID-19.
Gabe Bankman-Fried in 2020 founded Guarding Against Pandemics, which advocates at the state and federal levels for greater public health investment. Early in the pandemic, Henderson helped launch Covid Act Now to distribute data on coronavirus infections, hospitalizations, and deaths to federal, state, and local public-health agencies.
If the initiative passes, it would provide the largest infusion of money for the state’s public health system since it was created. Researchers and public health experts say that’s critical because deadlier pandemic threats are on the horizon.
“Is our public health system broken? Yes, absolutely. Are these pandemic threats real? More than people even understand,” said Dr. Stephen Luby, a Stanford University professor of medicine and infectious diseases. “We are so globally connected now. This pandemic is a warning shot.”
(KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation. This story was produced by KHN, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.)©2022 Kaiser Health News. Visit khn.org. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.