Coronavirus has been dominating the news cycle for weeks and it has many Americans worried. Despite all the coverage, you should not panic over coronavirus.
Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a respiratory illness and patients have had mild to severe symptoms. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath and may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure. Right now, the threat of contracting the disease in the United States is relatively low. As of March 4, 2020, there are 105 confirmed cases in the United States and 6 deaths have occurred, all in Washington state.
To put this in perspective, the current flu season poses more of a threat to Americans than coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates have been at least 32 million flu illnesses, 310,000 hospitalizations and 18,000 deaths from the flu in the United States during the 2019-2020 flu season. Like the flu, those who have the greatest risk of the coronavirus are the most vulnerable populations, like seniors and those with other health conditions.
The best way to prevent the spread of coronavirus is by avoiding people who are sick, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and face, and washing your hands often with soap and water. There is currently no vaccine available for COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health and private industry are working as quickly as they can to develop a vaccine, but one will not be ready for the public for at least a year.
Our country is well positioned to tackle public health emergencies like coronavirus. Last year, President Trump signed the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act into law. This bill reauthorized our public health preparedness and response programs and gives officials the tools they need in order to respond quickly and effectively to ongoing threats. Congress has also continually invested in our public health agencies, which has equipped them to handle situations like this one.
Congress is committed to working with President Trump and his administration to ensure adequate resources are made available to respond to coronavirus. The House is expected to vote on an emergency funding package for response efforts this week and get the funds where they are needed.
The health and safety of the American people is our number one priority and we will take all necessary steps to combat coronavirus.
For all the latest information on coronavirus, visit the CDC’s website: www.cdc.gov.
Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) represents the second district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached through http://mullin.house.gov, and at 811-A N York St., Muskogee, OK 74403, 918-687-2533 or 202-225-2701.