I wanted to update you on the latest COVID-19 coronavirus developments. While the situation remains serious, the risk to most Americans remains low. It is important that we stay calm and do not panic unnecessarily.
The federal government continues its aggressive response to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, secure access to testing for those who need it, and ensure those who have contracted the disease receive the treatment they need. Vice President Mike Pence and his coronavirus response team have been outstanding and have held regular press conferences updating the nation on the latest developments. Working closely with President Donald Trump, this team of professionals has done much not only to address this crisis but to calm the fears of Americans. Last Friday, the President declared a national emergency, opening billions more in aid, announced partnerships with private companies to help in the response, coordinated with the CDC for expanded guidelines, and declared Sunday a National Day of Prayer over the coronavirus. In addition to using existing powers, the administration continues to make serious efforts to work with Congress.
The work now is to limit the spread of the coronavirus and “flatten the curve” by limiting exposure. As most researchers and medical professionals predicted, the number of confirmed cases in the United States has increased over the past week. Aggressive actions by the administration and close cooperation with states and Congress can continue our progress in curbing new cases and preventing a crisis like Italy has experienced.
While the Trump administration is taking this situation seriously and working in the best interest of the American people, some of my colleagues in Congress are adopting President Barack Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel’s maxim to “never let a good crisis go to waste.” With varying success, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tried to jam as many unrelated Democrat wish list goodies into House coronavirus legislation as possible. Even many Democrats have been unhappy that their leadership seems content rushing to pass huge bills that include drastic, permanent policy changes, but Pelosi’s actions should surprise no one. Remember, it wasn’t long ago during the Obamacare debate that she famously said “we have to pass the bill to find out what is in it.”
The American people deserve better, and I promise to work with this administration and both Republicans and Democrats in Congress to make serious and effective efforts to govern appropriately during this time.
To everyone at home, I encourage you to embrace precaution, not panic. Keep in mind that most rumors you hear about drastic actions will be just that—rumors. The best way to keep your family safe and avoid getting the coronavirus is simply to avoid exposure as much as possible. The simplest steps are to practice social distancing and good hygiene practices. Wash your hands with soap and water throughout the day. Avoid gatherings of ten or more people and keep six feet apart from others whenever possible. Know the warning signs of fever, shortness of breath, and a consistent cough. Above all, use common sense. The best resource for information on the coronavirus and how to prevent its contraction and spread is www.coronavirus.gov.
As Congress, the administration and other entities such as the Federal Reserve continue pursuing actions to limit the economic ramifications of the coronavirus, there is no doubt there will be significant short-term repercussions. But, our country remains strong and I have every confidence that the economy will rebound once we have contained the coronavirus. My office remains open to answer any questions you may have about the coronavirus and assist you however possible. Together, our nation will get through this and emerge stronger than ever.
Congressman Bradley Byrne currently represents Alabama’s 1st congressional district.