Weekly Democratic Address
March 6, 2020
Hello, I’m Dr. Raul Ruiz, and I represent California’s 36th Congressional District.
I’m also an emergency doctor, public health expert and disaster aid specialist with medical, public health and public policy degrees from Harvard.
In 2009, I was working in the emergency department when our nation was combatting the H1N1 pandemic. There, on the frontlines, I saw firsthand how important a coordinated, comprehensive, government-wide response is to addressing public health threats like the one we are currently facing.
In situations like this, we must prepare for the worst as we work for the best.
That’s why this week, House Democrats took early and decisive action to protect the health of the American people by passing the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.
This aid package allocates $8.3 billion to address the coronavirus outbreak, including: more than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics; $2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness and response efforts; and nearly $1 billion in support of state and local health agencies, who are on the frontlines, working night and day to defend our nation’s health.
House Democrats’ aid package provides funds to reimburse state and local governments – like Riverside County in my district – for their expenses incurred while assisting with the federal response.
This rapid reimbursement is essential for readiness capacity to prevent future outbreaks and treat this disease.
We have passed a comprehensive funding aid package to help our public health infrastructure – but House Democrats’ work doesn’t end there.
We will remain vigilant in our oversight of the Administration’s efforts to ensure a thorough response that keeps Americans safe and healthy.
While Congress has passed a comprehensive supplemental to address the coronavirus, there are steps you can take personally to help keep you and your family safe and healthy.
Knowledge is power. And knowing the facts about transmission and prevention reduces anxiety and empowers you to protect yourself and your community.
CDC.gov is the best source of information. There, you’ll find real-time updates on the number of coronavirus cases and critical information from our nation’s leading public health experts on mitigating the spread of the virus.
There are also simple things that you can do every day to protect yourself and our most vulnerable populations, like people over 60, people with weakened immune systems and people with underlying conditions like diabetes, heart and lung disease.
As a physician, here’s what I’d tell my patients to prevent the spread of COVID-19: wash your hands often with warm water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol; cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue you can discard, then immediately wash your hands; avoid close contact with people who are sick; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; and, if you feel sick, stay home; and also, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
With these basic practices, you can and will make a difference in combatting this disease.
America – we can do this. Together, we can defend our nation’s health. And, together, we can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.
House Democrats are continuing to work hard For the People every day, to protect you and your family’s health – and make sure communities across our nation have the resources they need to stay safe and healthy.
We have your back.