First and foremost, throughout this crisis, please continue to listen to and follow the recommendations of public health officials, the CDC, and other medical professionals. If you or a loved one is concerned you may have COVID-19, please follow the recommendations of public health officials, call your primary care doctor’s office or your local emergency department (unless it’s an emergency, try to call ahead before going to a hospital or clinic).
To residents across the 4th District: don’t panic, be prepared, and stay up to date on the latest advice.
The spread of Coronavirus is a public health emergency, one unprecedented in modern history. Lives are at risk, our global economy is in peril, and the everyday fabric of our society looks to be temporarily changing.
At the same time, we must also act to keep our families healthy and protect our economy. To date, the Trump administration’s response has seemed haphazard and incomplete. As a former member of the communications team in the Obama White House, I saw first-hand how to effectively manage even the most serious of public health crises, and know our current response is falling well short.
I also believe this crisis revealed flaws in our existing health care system and social safety net, issues we have needed to address for decades. As usual, the consequences of the disruptions from COVID-19 will fall most directly and painfully on those least able to manage them: the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, families living with food insecurity, workers without paid sick leave, and those without access to quality, affordable health care.
As a future member of Congress, I believe there are three steps our federal government should be taking immediately to respond to this crisis:
- 1) Free Coronavirus/COVID-19 testing, care, and (eventually) vaccinations: Every American—including those without health insurance—must be able to receive needed care, and the government should contract to ensure every American is able to receive the coronavirus vaccine once it is developed.
- 2) Emergency Paid Leave for All: Paid leave and sick days are two of the best tools to slow the spread of disease. We cannot hope to contain this crisis if tens of millions of Americans cannot afford to stay home when they develop symptoms of coronavirus or have a family member develop symptoms. We must institute basic paid time off work for all workers — especiallythose without health insurance — to see a medical professional, get care, or provide treatment.
- 3) Emergency Fiscal Stimulus of $400 billion or more: I agree with Elizabeth Warren. With our economy and daily life grinding to a halt, Congress must pass a massive fiscal aid package to keep our businesses afloat and ensure our country can navigate this crisis. This aid could include unemployment assistance to families, low or no-interest loans to companies of all sizes, local and state aid to maintain services, and incentives to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries to jumpstart manufacturing of critical public health products.
Remember, we are going to get through this. And we are going to get through it the only way we have ever gotten through turbulent times in this country — together.
I wish you, your family, and your loved ones all the best.