Testing prioritizedSmith: Stopping coronavirus pandemic and finding a cure, vaccine must be our highest priority—no matter the cost
As the House on Saturday passed its second comprehensive bipartisan bill to combat the coronavirus (COVID 19), Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) said that “containing the outbreak, finding a cure and a safe and effective vaccine must be our highest priority—no matter the cost.”
“We must contain the coronavirus pandemic and protect all people, especially those most vulnerable to the disease such as the elderly and those with serious chronic medical conditions,” said Smith, who strongly supported and voted for the measure hours after President Trump declared the coronavirus a national emergency, opening the door for states and local governments to receive additional federal assistance.
Smith said, “The historic public-private partnership announced today at the White House will ensure quicker access to free, reliable testing at several venues including at drive-through testing sites in parking lots at stores including CVS, Target and Walmart. By authorizing massive new testing by private labs like Quest and LabCorp in addition to government-run labs and by FDA’s emergency approval of new detection technologies by Roche, the Trump Administration is significantly expanding the capacity to test.”
Smith pointed out that the bipartisan $8.3 billion coronavirus funding bill signed into law last Friday “boosted our ability to more quickly find a cure and, in the months ahead, a safe and reliable vaccine.”
The new legislation strongly supported by Smith—the Families First Coronavirus Response Act—would provide additional federal assistance to help contain the spread and mitigate the effects of the disease.
Noting the serious negative impact that the coronavirus is and will likely have on the economy, Smith said: “And it’s critically important that we work to save jobs and assist businesses that may falter or fail.”
“In retrospect, the President’s barring of non-U.S. citizens who recently visited China from entering the United States likely had a positive impact on containment—and at the very least, bought us some time to ratchet up our response. Health-related travel bans—now it’s Europe—are a major tool in the fight to contain the virus.”
The U.S. Senate is expected to consider the House-passed legislation next week.
For more information on the coronavirus go to Coronavirus.gov.