Sen. Chuck Schumer asks Biden to prioritize NYC for COVID-19 drug

0
16

The Biden administration should direct the limited supply of Tamiflu-like COVID-19 antiviral drugs to states like New York that have been hard hit by the Omicron variant, Sen. Chuck Schumer said Sunday.

“It’s a new weapon that we have to fight this Omicron COVID-19,” Schumer said of two new drugs recently approved by the FDA during a press briefing in Manhattan. “I’m calling on the federal government, which has bought all available [COVID] antivirals, to put New York at the top of the list as it distributes these.”

“We are number one in terms of the COVID cases, we are number one in terms of density, we are number on in terms of per capita, and so we deserve to get as many of these antivirals as quickly as possible,” he said. “The federal government should not distribute them across the board. They should look at where is the greatest need.”

Coronavirus cases have spiked in New York state and New York City in recent weeks. On Friday, 162,031 people tested positive for the virus statewide, according to the state Dept. of Health. Hospitalizations also increased with over one thousand patients in ICU.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer gave a press conference on January 2, 2021 over the 'Tamiful" Antiviral for Covid.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer gave a press conference on January 2, 2021 over the ‘Tamiful” Antiviral for Covid.
Kevin C. Downs for The New York
Sen Chuck Schumer urged President Biden to direct the pills to NYS and states where Omicron is surging so that they don't potentially go unused.
Sen Chuck Schumer urged President Biden to direct the pills to NYS and states where Omicron is surging so that they don’t potentially go unused.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

The Food and Drug Administration authorized Merck’s antiviral pill molnupiravir and Pfizer’s paxlovid late last month. The Pfizer drug is permitted for anyone over 12, while Merck’s product is currently for ages 18 and up.

Both drugs have been proven to reduce risk of hospitalization or death among COVID-19 patients — but both are in limited supply.

New York City residents who want the at-home treatments must do so through a pharmaceutical delivery service called Alto Pharmacy.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized Merck's antiviral pill molnupiravir and Pfizer's paxlovid late last month.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized Merck’s antiviral pill molnupiravir and Pfizer’s paxlovid late last month.
Kevin C. Downs for The New York

Residents of other counties can find a list of participating pharmacies on the website of the state Dept. of Health.