Rep. Cole…US coronavirus response has been far from delayed

Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole contends the U.S. response to the coronavirus is far from delayed as claimed by some Democrat critics of the Trump administration. And he points to actions taken by a subcommittee he chaired two years ago.

Over the weekend, the Republican U.S. Representative offered a weekly video update where he discussed the spread of the virus that has now claimed at least two lives in the U.S.

“First off, and as I explained several weeks back in the Wall Street Journal, Congress thankfully began preparing for public health emergencies like the coronavirus five years ago, shaping policies and prioritizing investment in infectious disease readiness,” wrote Rep. Cole.

“That included general increases each year for the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Strategic National Stockpile of medications and other medical supplies.”

Cole said the Republican-led Congress in 2018 created the Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund, a move that came when Cole was chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Department of Health and Human Services, including the CDC and the NIH.

“I proposed and advocated for the start of this emergency fund so that our public health defenders could draw these funds immediately to protect American lives—not having to wait on Congress to provide supplemental emergency funds. And that’s exactly what our public health defenders have been able to do during these first critical weeks.”

Rep. Cole said because of the action taken two years ago, Congress already had vital public health tools in place allowing the government to direct “a swift and decision response” to protect our citizens.

“Moreover, President Trump made the wise decision early on to order travel restrictions and quarantines, which effectively bought our country some extra time. And every step of the way, the Administration has kept Congress informed on what is known about the virus and what steps are underway, including NIH working to develop a vaccine as quickly as possible,” said the congressman in his update.

See attached from the congressman’s report.

In case you missed it last week, I spoke at length during a hearing with HHS Secretary Alex Azar about how the U.S. response to the coronavirus has been far from delayed – despite some erroneous claims to the contrary.

While there’s still a long road ahead, it is good news that the U.S. response has been swift, thanks to the tools Congress began readying five years ago and that the president has used decisively well.

Additional funding will certainly be needed to continue protecting our communities, and I am confident Congress will move quickly to provide whatever is needed to protect American lives.

Practical Precautions You Can Take 

While the risk to the American people is still comparatively low, it’s important to plan ahead and take precautions similar to protecting against the seasonal flu or respiratory illness – like washing your hands a lot, covering your mouth when you cough and staying home when you’re sick.

For more guidance and the latest updates, I encourage you to regularly check the CDC’s website here or Twitter here.

Source: Rep. Cole’s column