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As a Member of Congress, it is my honor and privilege to share information with my constituents in California's 14th District.

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March 2, 2020

In response to the global outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), I want to share some basic information about the virus and steps you can take to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy as well as resources that can provide you with timely, accurate, and useful information.

The World Health Organization (WHO) maintains this map which tracks the number of reported cases in each country and when they were reported. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also maintains this list of confirmed and presumptive positive cases in the U.S., which is updated daily.

Below you will find the latest information about the outbreak of COVID-19, how to protect yourself and your family, and what is being done to contain the spread of the virus.

Timeline of Major Events

On December 31, 2019, the current outbreak of novel coronavirus was first reported in China

On January 30, 2020, the WHO declared a global emergency as nearly 10,000 coronavirus cases had been reported worldwide at that point. 

On January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency for the United States to aid the health care community in responding to the 2019 novel coronavirus.

On February 11, 2020, the WHO announced a name for the new coronavirus disease: COVID-19.

On February 28, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced that there are more than 20 COVID-19 vaccines in development globally and that several therapeutics are in clinical trials. 

Symptoms

For confirmed coronavirus cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Click here to review the CDC details on symptoms. The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. 

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Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is, of course, to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

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. 
CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and care takers.
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.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
It is currently flu season, so please get your flu vaccine if you haven't already.
These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers which you can view by clicking here.

CDC Fact Sheets:

CORONAVIRUS:  CDC Fact Sheet:  What You Need to Know (English)
CORONAVIRUS:  CDC Fact Sheet:  What You Need to Know (Spanish)

CORONAVIRUS:  CDC Fact Sheet:  What To Do If You Are Sick (English)
CORONAVIRUS:  CDC Fact Sheet:  What To Do If You Are Sick (Spanish)

CORONAVIRUS:  CDC Fact Sheet:  What the Public Should Do (English)

CORONAVIRUS:  CDC Fact Sheet:  Stop the Spread of Germs (English)
CORONAVIRUS:  CDC Fact Sheet:  Stop the Spread of Germs (Spanish)
 

Additional CDC Information:

CORONAVIRUS: CDC Guidance on Prevention and Treatment

CORONAVIRUS: CDC Guidance on How It Spreads

CORONAVIRUS: CDC Guidance on Symptoms

CORONAVIRUS: CDC Information on Number of Confirmed U.S. Cases

CORONAVIRUS: CDC Guidance for Travelers

CORONAVIRUS: CDC Guidance for Businesses/Employers

CORONAVIRUS: CDC Frequently Asked Questions


Congressional Action 

America needs a fully funded, coordinated government response to confront the coronavirus epidemic. The House will swiftly advance a strong, strategic funding package that fully addresses the scale and seriousness of this public health crisis without pulling funds from existing programs and by ensuring that state and local governments are reimbursed by the federal government for their efforts. 

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.

On March 3rd, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., the Senate Health Committee will hold a hearing on coronavirus entitled "An Emerging Disease Threat: How the U.S. Is Responding to COVID-19, the Novel Coronavirus." You can watch the hearing live on March 3 by clicking here. 

Travel Warnings 

The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China. The State Department has issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory warning people to avoid traveling to China due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan. Travelers should be prepared for the possibility of travel restrictions with little or no advance notice. Most commercial air carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China.

If you are still planning travel to China, 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.  

On arrival to the United States, travelers from China will undergo a health screening. Travelers with signs and symptoms of illness (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing) will have an additional health assessment. Travelers who have been in China during the past 14 days, including U.S. citizens or residents and others who are allowed to enter the United States, will be required to enter through specific airports and participate in monitoring by health officials until 14 days after they left China. Some people may have their movement restricted or be asked to limit their contact with others until the 14-day period has ended.

Reject the Stigma

As a member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), I am working with my colleagues to dispel the stigma, misinformation, and conspiracy theories that are disparaging and negatively affecting the Asian American community in the United States and abroad.

According to the CDC, stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, with a specific population or nationality, even though not everyone from that group or region has the disease and race and ethnicity are not risk factors for infectious disease.

Being Chinese or Asian American alone does not increase your risk 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 at no greater risk of acquiring and spreading COVID-19 than other Americans.

Additional Information

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. 

The CDC and WHO provide updates on the virus and safety information for the public and health care professionals. You can sign up for the CDC's email updates by clicking here. You can sign up for the WHO's email updates by clicking here.

The State Department provides a list of travel advisories for those who are planning to travel outside of the United States.

State and Local Resources 

The California Department of Public Health has a Coronavirus information page you can access by clicking here.

Our local health departments are also coordinating closely with the CDC. For local updates and resources, please visit the San Mateo County Health Department’s website here and the San Francisco Department of Public Health website here.

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