Letters to the Editor

U.S. response to COVID-19 must be global

Due to COVID-19, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) reports the number of people facing a food crisis will double this year to 265 million. World Vision estimates that an additional 5 million children will suffer from malnutrition, which can negatively impact their lifelong development. Congress has passed legislation to address COVID-19 in our country. The next COVID-19 legislation should include support for our neighbors in other countries.

Because COVID-19 respects no borders, it is in our national interest to make a global response to it. Epidemiologists fear that large reservoirs of COVID-19 in the global South could bounce back to our country in new waves.

Under the strain of the pandemic, weak health care systems, especially in African countries, are collapsing. The resulting instability could threaten our national security and disrupt our export trade. During the first two months of this year, non-industrialized countries bought 35.6 percent of American exports, including Iowa’s agricultural and manufactured products.

Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice that advocates for domestic hunger programs and poverty-focused foreign assistance programs. It is asking Congress to provide $12 billion toward a global response to COVID-19, including nutrition programs, global health and economic relief. Less that 1 percent of the federal budget goes toward poverty-focused foreign assistance. Only 0.1 percent has been focused on helping low-income countries respond to the pandemic.

Please urge Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst to include support for our neighbors in other countries in the next COVID-19 legislation.

Steve Panther

Iowa City

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