Queens lawmaker leads congressional delegation in urging CDC, FDA to expedite resources to combat coronavirus

Coronavirus Outbreak
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Congresswoman Grace Meng is leading members of the Congressional New York Delegation to call on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expedite and expand resources to combat the coronavirus. 

On Monday, a letter was sent to CDC Director, Robert Redfield, and FDA Commissioner, Dr. Steven Hahn, calling for the expedited approval of testing approaches developed by private entities and the authorizing of automated coronavirus testing.

Additionally, the letter also calls for clarification on how the CDC is working enhanced coronavirus screening at ports of entry such as at New York airports. The letter includes signatures from local lawmakers such as Gregory Meeks, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Carolyn Maloney. 

“The work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are essential to the response by the city of New York, and cities across the nation, to this public health emergency,” the letter reads. “The delivery of testing kits by the CDC to New York City’s Public Health Laboratory (PHL) was a step in the right direction. However, as the nation’s most populous city responds to this emergency, it is already clear that the current testing capacity is insufficient to meet our public needs, which is why we call for automated testing and other resources.” 

According to the Congressional Delegation, as the number of identified cases in New York City increases, rapid detection is necessary to contain the spread of the virus. 

“New York state, in collaboration with the New York City, developed its own testing protocol that could increase NYC’s testing capacity after FDA approval, validation and implementation. However, more must be done,” the letter said.  

Given their concerns, the lawmakers are requesting the following: 

  • The FDA to expedite the approval of testing approaches developed by manufacturers of clinical infectious disease diagnostics, clinical laboratories and other entities. FDA approval of testing methods and kits would further increase New York City’s testing capacity to enable prompt action and response. 
  •  The FDA and CDC to expeditiously authorize and implement automated COVID-19 testing to effectively respond to the current testing demand.
  •  The CDC to issue clarification on how the CDC and CBP are working together to establish uniform criteria for when a traveler should undergo enhanced COVID-19 screening at ports of entry.


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