Press release on the COVID-19 pandemic from Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kaine  (D)….
As I continue to monitor the coronavirus outbreak, I wanted to share with you what Congress has been doing to combat this public health threat, what we are planning to do moving forward, and what everyone can do at home to help keep their families and communities safe.
Last week, we passed a comprehensive emergency funding bill  to combat the coronavirus. This $8 billion bipartisan effort includes funding for diagnostic testing, vaccine development, and additional resources for state and local responders who are on the front lines of this pandemic. Virginia received more than $13 million of this federal funding to help cover the costs of preparations for this public health emergency.
What we need right now is maximum transparency and close collaboration with health experts and scientists as the government works to combat this threat. I’ve been alarmed by the malpractice we’ve seen from the Trump Administration when it comes to testing Americans for the coronavirus. They haven’t been up front with the public about the availability of tests and have fallen far short of other nations when it comes to providing the number of tests we need. We must accelerate the production and delivery of testing kits to states and military bases around the world so we can give people trustworthy information about their own health and hopefully slow the spread of the virus.
We also need to protect American workers who are affected by this outbreak. Even in the midst of a public health crisis like the coronavirus, more than 32 million American workers still do not have paid sick leave. I’ve cosponsored legislation  to guarantee paid sick days to workers, including 14 additional days of leave available immediately at the beginning of a public health emergency like the coronavirus.
Workers deserve the flexibility to care for their health and the health of their family members without fear of losing a paycheck. This legislation will help ensure that no American has to put their health – and the health of others in their community – at risk to keep their job.
You can read more about the legislation here.
There’s a lot we can and should each do to protect ourselves and those around us. Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you are sick. Cover your coughs and sneezes in your elbow and please call your health care provider if you are experiencing symptoms.