New York, NY – January 21, 2019: US Congressman Hakeem Jeffries speaks during 33rd Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House. (Shutterstock)
In response to the global outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), I want to take a few moments to share some information on how to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. CDC recommends you take the following preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:
- 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.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- Wash your hands often and vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
It is currently flu season, so please get your flu vaccine if you haven’t already.
America needs a fully-funded, coordinated government response to confront COVID-19. Last week, the House swiftly passed an $8 billion funding package to help address the scale and seriousness of this public health crisis.
On February 28, I introduced the “Cure the Coronavirus Act,” legislation to encourage the rapid innovation and approval of a treatment for COVID-19.
Once a vaccine is made available, I will work with my colleagues to ensure it remains affordable and accessible.
We are calling on the Trump Administration to restore the global health security teams at the National Security Council and Department of Homeland Security that are charged with managing pandemics. These pandemic response teams were originally established after the Ebola outbreak in 2014 but were disbanded by the current Administration in 2018 to cut costs.
CDC has issued “Travel Health Notices” for multiple countries, a full list of notices and CDC’s guidance can be found here. If you are still planning travel to countries affected by COVID-19, I encourage you to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive important messages, alerts, updates and travel advisories while you are there.
Please note that upon your arrival to the United States, travelers may have to undergo a health screening and are subject to possible health monitoring or quarantine. You can learn more by visiting the State Department’s website here.
Reject the Stigma
I appreciate the work of my colleagues in the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) to dispel the stigma, misinformation and conspiracy theories that are disparaging and negatively affecting the Asian American community in the United States and abroad.Let me be clear; being Chinese or Asian American does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19.
People—including those of Asian descent—who have not recently traveled to China or been in contact with a person who is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 are not at greater risk of acquiring and spreading COVID-19 than other Americans.
Experts have been working hard to understand COVID-19. Because new information surfaces every day, please visit the sites below to stay up to date.
CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) provide updates on the virus and safety information for the public and healthcare professionals. You can sign up for CDC’s email updates here and WHO’s email updates here.
The safety of the constituents of the 8th Congressional District and your loved ones is of the utmost importance. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call my office. In the meantime, be safe and well.
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries
New York’s Eighth Congressional District