U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who serves as a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, is calling on the community and the nation to stay prepared and avoid panicking in response to the Coronavirus outbreak that has been widely reported.
“This is not a time for hysteria or propaganda, but rather a time for facts and action,” said Congresswoman Jackson Lee. “We must be certain to utilize all information and federal resources available to ensure that efforts to stem the spread of this virus is successful. My office will continue to monitor all the efforts to contain and cure this virus by working with local, state, and federal officials.”
On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of a “public health emergency from the outbreak of the Coronavirus,” and has sounded the alarm worldwide.
As the declaration came forth, the Coronavirus outbreak had already infected populations around the world, causing 77,042 cases in China and 2,445 deaths; 858 cases in South Korea and 8 deaths; 634 cases on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship and 2 deaths; 143 cases in Italy and 4 deaths; 159 cases in Japan and 1 death; and 35 cases reported in the United States, with the first death just reported, among others.
“This is not just a health crisis but also an economic crisis which has caused a decline in markets around the world including our won here in the United States,” Congresswoman Jackson Lee stated. “I have formally requested the President of the United States by letter to immediately suspend any health-related cuts that impact efforts to contain and treat the coronavirus, including the $3.3 billion in cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the discretionary budget cuts for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of nearly 19 percent at $678 million, severely threatening the CDC’s ability to respond to this and other epidemics in the future. Additionally, I am requesting the President to suspend cuts in both the Medicare and Medicaid programs.”
In her role on the House Committee on Homeland Security, which is responsible for the domestic health security of our nation and the Budget Committee, Congresswoman Jackson Lee states that it is important to be sure the public has all of the facts regarding the Coronavirus and wants the public to know that everything in their power is being done to protect the American public, including providing the necessary resources to the CDC, the NIH and to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Coronaviruses make up a large family of viruses that can infect birds and mammals—including humans. While some coronaviruses have caused devastating epidemics, others cause mild to moderate respiratory infections, like the common cold. The Coronavirus can be transmitted between people through coughs or sneezes. But it can be contained and treated given the proper resources and attention by our health and medical professionals.
Congresswoman Jackson Lee stated that it is imperative that the Administration initiates the following action plan:
ENHANCE PRODUCTION OF N-95 MASKS
INFORM STATE HEALTH AGENCIES AND ALL FEDERALLY QUALIFIED HEALTH CLINICS TO TEST ALL PATIENTS PRESENTING WITH FLU LIKE SYMPTOMS FOR THE CORONAVIRUS
INCREASE THE SUPPLY OF FLU VACCINE AND USE PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUCEMENTS TO PROMOTE GETTING A FLU SHOT TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF PERSONS WITH FLU LIKE SYMPTOMS
TASKFORCE MUST NAME A SINGLE CORONAVIRUS AUTHORITATIVE SOURCE FOR ALL FEDERAL INFORMATION ON THE VIRUS AND ESTABLISH CLEAR COMMUNICATION LINKS TO K-12 AND POST SECONDARY SCHOOLS, THE MEDIA, AND THE PUBLIC
ESTABLISH A REQUIREMENT THAT THE NATION’S AIRPORTS, TRAIN, AND MASS TRANSIT SYSTEMS BOTH SMALL AND LARGE, NEED TO HAVE RESPONSE TEAMS AS NECESSARY TO DEAL WITH AND TREAT THE TRAVELING PUBLIC
MAKE SURE THE FEDERAL ADVISORY TASK FORCE MAKES PUBLIC REPORTS ON THE STATUS OF THE SPREAD OF THE CORONAVIRUS INCLUDING THROUGH THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN APP THAT PROVIDES UP TO DATE TRAVEL ADVISORIES REGARDING CERTAIN COUNTRIES AND BASIC INFORMATION ON THE VIRUS
“We cannot only rely on the President’s Proclamation on Suspension of Entry for Immigrants and Nonimmigrants who pose a risk of transmitting the Coronavirus,” said Congresswoman Jackson Lee. “We are a world community and this virus has made its way around the world.”