NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) - There is concern that the president's budget will cut millions of dollars to key federal health agencies during a time when the coronavirus continues to claim lives worldwide.

Local health officials and Sen. Richard Blumenthal are instead calling for emergency funding for research and prevention efforts.

He scheduled a news conference at 12:45 p.m. in New Haven.

Blumenthal was joined by New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker and health officials.

They said President Donald Trump's budget proposal not only cuts critical research, it also affects the programs used to stop or prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Blumenthal's plan is to call on Congress to provide emergency funding for federal health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

"Cutting the CDC by 10 percent, cutting NIH by 34 percent is tantamount to public health suicide," Blumenthal said. 

More than 64,000 cases of the virus were reported worldwide. More than 1,300 people have died.

"That is the wrong direction for us to go in, especially now," Elicker said. 

There have been 15 confirmed cases in the U.S.

RELATED: Scientists expect coronavirus numbers to rise

The CDC said it is preparing for the worst-case scenario of a widespread outbreak in the US.

The cuts are just proposals. Blumenthal says Trump offered similar cuts in his budget last year to social services, and members of Congress were able to keep many of the programs. 

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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