I am writing to you about COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus, to share the most up-to-date public health information.
First and foremost, please know the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is your best resource. Their comprehensive website has the most up-to-date information, including an easy fact sheet on what you need to know (en Español), guidance on prevention and control, and guidance for travelers.
Secondly, at this moment, the Virginia Department of Health reports that no novel coronavirus cases have been confirmed so far within the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is my hope that this will continue, and I urge you to consult regional health officials for the most up-to-date local information and guidance.
Outside this country the news is more grim, with 82,000 cases reported and nearly 3,000 fatalities. The World Health Organization declared a global emergency, and the National Institutes of Health predicts that “more cases are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States.” I share this information not to raise fear, but to remind that now is the time to familiarize ourselves with the resources and sensible safety guidelines recommended by public health officials.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends basic hygienic precautions, similar to those used to prevent the spread of other diseases, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
What we know about coronavirus has changed over time, and future updates will be shared by the CDC on their website as they become available.
March 10 Town Hall (limited space, RSVP here):
Right now there is no vaccine for COVID-19, though clinical trials are underway, and I expect to vote soon to provide sufficient resources to respond to the 2019 novel coronavirus. In the meantime, public officials are focused on preventing the spread of the disease to the extent possible. This begins with travel advisories from the State Department, which currently focus on China and South Korea, but may change in the future.
I have significant concerns with the administration’s handling of the response to date, including the levels of funding requested to prepare for COVID-19, which I found insufficient, and what I consider a lack of effective coordination. I have pushed back against what, in my view, amounts to the sharing of incorrect information about this public health crisis. The well-being of my constituents is uppermost in my mind as I work for improvements to the government’s response.
Please know that I will continue to do everything I can to ensure your safety as this situation unfolds.
As I work on these and all other matters before Congress, I will continue to hold your views in mind. I hope you will not hesitate to share your thoughts, ideas, concerns, and questions with the staff in my District Office at (703) 658-5403 or my D.C. Office at (202) 225-4376.
Thank you for your time and consideration.