Sensible Steps to Promote Public Health
From the desk of the US Senate
With the global spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), I want to ensure you have the best available information on how to protect yourselves from contracting respiratory diseases like COVID-19.
This week, Congress took bipartisan action to assist health care providers in their work against COVID-19. An emergency appropriation of nearly $8 billion was approved and will be used to increase access to testing, pay for treatments and the development of a vaccine, and ensure an adequate supply of public health equipment. I supported the package when it passed the Senate by a 96-1 vote.
Here is what you need to know about COVID-19:
By taking the same precautionary measures you might to mitigate contracting the flu, you can decrease the risk of contracting COVID-19.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. If you have been in China or any other country with high prevalence of the virus, such as Italy, South Korea or Iran, within the past two weeks and develop symptoms, call your doctor.
Hand sanitizers are no more effective than traditional soap and water, when they are used properly. There is no need to go out of your way to procure hand sanitizer.
There has been information circulating that N-95 facemasks can protect you from COVID-19. Unless you are already sick or a health care worker, do not buy these masks as they are crucially needed for doctors, health care professionals, and patients. Rather, follow the steps above and you will put yourself in the best position to avoid contracting COVID-19.
CDC is currently recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China and South Korea. They also advise that older adults and those with chronic medical conditions consider postponing nonessential travel to Iran, Italy, and Japan. If you are traveling to Hong Kong, practice usual precautions such as those listed above. If you plan to travel internationally, regardless of your destination, it would be prudent to enroll in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive important messages, updates, alerts, and travel advisories while you are out of the country.
Experts are working diligently to understand COVID-19. Because new information is coming out every day, visit the sites below to stay informed.
The Centers for Disease Control provides updates on the virus and safety information for the public and healthcare professionals.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health provides information on the virus and safety precautions.
The State Department provides a list of travel advisories for those who are planning to fly outside of the United States.