There is a lot in the news about the global outbreak of COVID-19 – the new strain of coronavirus. More than 93,000 worldwide cases have been reported, according to the World Health Organization, including more than 99 cases in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Maryland has just confirmed its first three cases of coronavirus. As reported cases continue to increase across the United States, I wanted to make sure you have the latest information.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, I voted yesterday to pass $8.3 billion in emergency funding to make sure that federal, state and local governments have the resources they need to fight the virus and keep Americans safe. The emergency funding includes:
- More than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics;
- $2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness and response, including $950 million to support state and local health agencies;
- Nearly $1 billion to procure pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, support health care preparedness, help Community Health Centers and improve medical surge capacity;
- $61 million to develop and review medical countermeasures, devices, therapies and vaccines, and to help mitigate potential supply chain interruptions;
- $1.25 billion to address the coronavirus abroad to help keep Americans safe here at home;
- $7 billion in low-interest loans to affected small businesses to help cushion the economic blow of this public health emergency; and
- $300 million to help purchase vaccines for the American people at a fair and reasonable price.
Currently, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. However, the CDC recommends several preventative steps that you can take every single day to avoid exposure and stop the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19. This includes:
- 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; and
- Wash your hands often 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.
Facemasks are only needed for individuals who show symptoms of coronavirus. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
For the latest information and updates on the coronavirus, please visit the CDC’s website and the Maryland Department of Health website. You can also call the Maryland Department of Health at (410) 767-6700.
If you’re planning to travel, visit the CDC’s Information for Travel website.
Congressman John Sarbanes
Maryland’s Third Congressional District