Former New York City mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg announced on Tuesday a $40 million commitment to support “immediate action” to fight the spread of the coronavirus in Africa and low and middle-income countries around the world.
Bloomberg Philanthropies, the former mayor’s charitable organization, will use the $40 million to fund the deployment of rapid response teams to detect and treat outbreaks, and train healthcare workers fighting the disease in less developed countries. The contribution will also support lab networks working with the virus and efforts to measure the efficacy of containment strategies in communities around the world.
Bloomberg will partner with the World Health Organization and Vital Strategies, a large public health organization that partners with city and local governments on health issues. He’s also working with former CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden, who served as commissioner of the New York City Health Department during Bloomberg’s term as mayor.
“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 in a statement.
Bloomberg’s latest contribution follows his announcement last week of an initiative to support mayors and cities across the country grappling with the coronavirus, a virtual system to connect local officials with one another and public health experts at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative. That group, known as the Coronavirus Local Response Initiative, will convene remotely for the first time on Thursday. More than 180 cities are expected to participate.
Bloomberg made tackling the coronavirus and criticism of the Trump administration’s initial response a focus on his presidential campaign in late February and early March, before he bowed out of the race after a poor performance on Super Tuesday.