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Combating Coronavirus

Washington, March 4, 2020
Dear Friends,

The number of COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus, cases reported on American soil grows every day, including six in New York State, and the White House seems ill-prepared to handle the spread of the virus. I was, therefore, proud to join my colleagues in the House in passing a bipartisan emergency spending package that will provide federal and state authorities with the funds they need to combat the pandemic. This funding package significantly exceeds the figure requested by the Trump Administration, and will provide much-needed resources for local, state, and federal governments to adequately prepare for and react to coronavirus.

More funding may be necessary in the future, and I stand prepared to support any additional resources we may need. However, today’s vote is a necessary first step. The spending package will allocate hundreds of millions of dollars to areas that have already been hit by the virus, including New York. It supports the community health centers that have been on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus and reimburses the state and local governments that have already borne so much of the cost of our response.

This package invests over three billion dollars into the research that will deliver a coronavirus vaccine and provides hundreds of millions more so that once those vaccines are ready, they’ll be affordable for the American people. It allocates nearly a billion dollars to be used for the procurement of crucial medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, ensuring that health care professionals will be able to treat patients without fear of getting sick themselves. And it allows for billions in low-interest loans to small businesses, limiting the economic impact of the disease.

I was proud to vote for this package and will vote for more funding if it’s necessary. I will continue to monitor the situation in New York and around the country and will work with my colleagues to ensure the full, coordinated force of the federal government is behind our efforts to stop the spread of this disease. The American people should be able to trust that their government will work to keep them safe from a public health crisis like coronavirus. Today, the House honored that trust.

While the House is working hard to respond to the serious threat posed by coronavirus, there are steps that everyone can take to remain informed and to limit the spread of the virus.

Information about coronavirus in New York State is available here and additional information about virus in New York City can be found here.

General information about the disease is available from the CDC here and from the WHO here.

Every health care expert agrees that the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your classmates or co-workers is to follow simple guidelines:

  • Wash your hands regularly following CDC guidelines
  • Avoid touching your face and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Stay home if you are feeling sick and avoid close contact with others who are sick
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces, including your phone, with a cleaning spray or wipe
  • Avoid crowded spaces as much as possible

If you are experiencing symptoms or have been to an area where coronavirus is spreading, contact your health care provider who will work with the Department of Health to determine if you need screening.

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