People lying in beds and others standing by them (© Xiong Qi/Xinhua/Getty)
Patients infected with the novel coronavirus are seen February 5 at a makeshift hospital converted from an exhibition center in Wuhan, China. (© Xiong Qi/Xinhua/Getty)

The United States has pledged to spend up to $100 million in existing funds to combat the coronavirus disease COVID-19 overseas, demonstrating continued U.S. leadership in the global fight against infectious diseases.

“This commitment — along with the hundreds of millions generously donated by the American private sector — demonstrates strong U.S. leadership in response to the outbreak,” U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo said February 7 when he announced the assistance.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced on March 2 that it was committing $37 million in financing for 25 countries affected by COVID-19 or at high risk of its spread. The money will fund laboratory strengthening efforts, risk communication and the distribution of personal protective equipment, such as masks, gloves and gowns.

Graphic with "The U.S. has committed up to $100 million to combat the deadly coronavirus" (State Dept.)
(State Dept.)

The disease was first detected in Wuhan in China’s Hubei province but has spread around the world.

The U.S. assistance reflects continued U.S. commitment to preventing and treating infectious diseases. As outlined in its Global Health Security Strategy, the U.S. partners with other countries to better prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease threats at the source.

Since 2009, USAID has invested more than $1 billion to help prevent, detect and respond to endemic and emerging health threats, including diseases like COVID-19.

The U.S. government funding is in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars that U.S. organizations have committed to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Four people in protective suits giving thumbs-up sign (© Project HOPE)
Doctors at Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine wearing new personal protective equipment delivered by Project HOPE on February 6. (© Project HOPE)

Aid groups have sent donations of more than 2 million respirator masks, 11,000 protective suits and 280,000 pairs of nitrile gloves to address the skyrocketing demand in Hubei province, according to Project HOPE, a U.S.-based nonprofit.

U.S. pharmaceutical companies, including Inovio and Johnson & Johnson, are also busy at work on vaccines.