COVID-19’s Economic Impact on West Virginia Shows the State Cannot Afford Another Pandemic
September 27, 2021
PHILADELPHIA — Today, 314 Action launched an advocacy campaign calling on Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) to stand on the side of science and vote for sufficient pandemic preparedness funding. While experts believe that the federal government needs to invest at least $30 million to prevent future health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, current plans for funding account for less than $10 million.
In West Virginia, where COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to set daily records, the economic effects of the pandemic have been devastating, a clear signal that West Virginians cannot afford another crisis of this magnitude.
- West Virginia’s GDP plummeted 5.5 percent in 2020, a drop of nearly $4 billion — all the way to 2010 recession levels.
- Nearly half of West Virginians are employed in business sectors that have either high or medium-high economic exposure to COVID-19.
- Since January 2020, job postings have decreased almost 20 percent.
- In 2020, the median income of West Virginia households fell by almost $2,000 compared to 2019.
“The lives of West Virginians and the future of the state’s economy will rely on funding for future pandemic prevention — because COVID-19 is most likely not the last public health crisis we will face in our lifetimes. We know Joe Manchin loves attention, but refusing to fully support this essential funding isn’t the right way to get it,” said Alexandra De Luca, 314 Action’s communications director. “West Virginia continues to suffer as a result of this pandemic, and the level of funding that public health experts and scientists are calling for will help ensure future generations are spared the countless tragedies we have experienced over the last eighteen months. If Joe Manchin cares about the future of West Virginia and its people, he needs to prove it and demand this full funding.”
This is the third campaign of 314 Action’s cycle-long advocacy program designed to hold politicians accountable on critical science issues. The West Virginia campaign will run online and over SMS and social media.
In 2022, 314 Action Fund will aim to spend $50 million to elect scientists across all levels of government, with initial targets of seven U.S. Senate races, forty U.S. House races, and twenty-one statewide races. In 2020, 314 Action Fund spent $25 million on behalf of its endorsed candidates and raised a total of $5 million in grassroots donations for scientists running for office.
314 Action is powered by a grassroots community of over six million people working to elect scientists, doctors, and STEM professionals who will use science and facts to address our most pressing issues like climate change and health care. In 2018 and 2020, we played a pivotal role in flipping the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, electing eleven Democratic scientists to federal office, as well as over 100 to state and local offices. In 2021 and 2022, 314 Action will continue working to elect science leaders and defeat climate deniers in Congress and legislatures across the country, as well as advocate for issues critical to the science community, from environmental justice, to voting rights, to reproductive justice, and beyond.