NEW YORK (WABC) -- Former New York City mayor and billionaire Mike Bloomberg announced on Tuesday a $40 million commitment to support "immediate action" to fight the spread of the coronavirus in low and middle-income countries.
It follows an initiative he started last week to help mayors respond to the spread of COVID-19, by providing a virtual support network that connects them with public health experts and other mayors fighting the virus in places like Seattle.
The initiative will, "...fund rapid response teams that will be deployed to prevent and detect infection; train frontline healthcare workers in infection prevention and control; develop lab networks to manage and transport specimens to central laboratories for COVID-19 diagnosis; measure acceptance and impact of containment strategies such as school and church closures and cancellation of mass gatherings through rapid mobile phone surveys; provide communications support such as public education campaigns; and provide technical expertise to global and regional health organizations."
"Millions of lives depend on getting the coronavirus response right - and so does the economic and social health of communities around the world. We need to slow transmission of the virus and minimize the impact of the outbreak in all countries," Bloomberg said. "As we launch the Coronavirus Local Response Initiative this week here in the U.S., we also are creating a new effort to prevent its spread globally, particularly in Africa. I know from my experience as mayor of New York City that giving public health professionals the tools to protect the public is vital to saving lives - and to help mitigate the kind of economic and social damage that could make this crisis even more debilitating for families and communities."
Bloomberg Philanthropies will partner with Dr. Tom Frieden, president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives in this effort.
"We have a window of time to partner with Ministries of Health in sub-Saharan Africa to protect their population from a disease that could kill through both infections and disruption of health services," Dr. Frieden said. "From Ebola to H1N1, we now know more than ever how to minimize the risk of epidemics, especially in low- and middle-income countries. With Mayor Bloomberg's support, we can help mitigate the worst effects of coronavirus in Africa."