Weekly Democratic Address
March 13, 2020
Hi, I’m Senator Patty Murray from Washington state. Right now, I know families in my state and across the country are alarmed by the continued spread of the novel coronavirus.
Like so many of the families I’m hearing from, I have been incredibly frustrated and concerned by the Trump Administration’s missteps and slow response to this crisis so far.
People need the facts. They need a plan. They need transparency. And they need it now.
So I’m working to make sure we not only hold the Trump Administration accountable for the delays and missed opportunities so far, but that we also do everything in our power to immediately take the steps we need to do to start to finally get ahead of this crisis.
I know so many people are asking what they should be doing to help keep their family and community safe.
The most important thing we can do right now is make sure each and every one of us is taking steps to slow the spread of this virus so we can protect the people who are most vulnerable and prevent a spike in cases from overwhelming our healthcare workers on the frontlines.
Public health experts have made clear this is something everyone can, and must, play a role in.
There are several simple, straightforward steps you can take starting right now to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases: avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth and avoid close contact with people who are sick; clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces; cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and throw that tissue in the trash; wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; and if you are sick – stay home.
We should also all be taking steps to improve social distancing to protect ourselves and others in our communities.
Now these steps may seem small – but make no mistake, they are a critical part of this fight.
The other critical part of this effort is ensuring we’ve got a coordinated, comprehensive government response that puts the needs of families, workers, and communities on the frontline of this crisis first.
Here are the next steps Democrats believe are necessary.
First, we need to make sure that no matter how you are insured, or whether you are insured – you can get testing at absolutely no cost.
We need to ensure all employees have access to fourteen paid sick days immediately, so they can afford to follow the CDC’s advice and stay home if they are sick.
Our healthcare workers need protective gear to keep them safe as they care for those who are sick.
And we need to make sure our schools have plans for everyone who will be impacted by the difficult decisions they may have to make. Children who rely on school for nutritious meals, college students who get their housing, medical care, and meals on campus will need our support.
We also have to support our communities in addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness and those experiencing food insecurity.
And, as coronavirus continues to impact our small businesses, we will absolutely need to put policies in place that help local economies recover.
There is much more we need to do as well – but steps like these will go a long way toward saving lives and reducing the impact of coronavirus – and we need to take them as quickly as possible. That is exactly what we’re going to keep pushing to get done.
Let me also say that I know this is a frightening time, and there are lots of unknowns.
But here are two things you can count on: First, you can make a huge difference for yourself and others by following public health experts’ guidance on ways to slow the spread of this virus. Small steps truly do save lives in this moment.
And secondly, Democrats understand the urgency of this moment in no uncertain terms – and we are going to work to do everything we can, as fast as we can, to protect you, your loved ones, and all our communities.
We are in this together, and we will get through it together.