In an effort to protect public health and contain the spread of coronavirus, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and many other senators penned a letter to the president to consider any disaster declaration requests so states can utilize the $42.6 billion currently available in the Disaster Relief Fund.
As of March 10, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 647 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 25 deaths across 36 states. In the letter, the senators urge President Trump to employ a whole-of-government approach, including the use of un-tapped DRF funding, and working with state, local, and tribal officials so they can have the necessary resources to combat coronavirus.
The senators acknowledge in the letter that the immediate health risk to the majority of the American public is thought to remain low, the challenges of community spread of the virus have already begun to strain state and local government responses, particularly health departments.
“It is crucial that your administration employ a whole-of-government approach in responding to COVID-19,” the letter states. “This includes working closely with state, local, and tribal officials and providing necessary resources to those on the frontlines. We strongly urge FEMA to stand ready to provide emergency protective measures to prevent and mitigate the spread of disease, save lives, and protect public health and safety, should any state request assistance.”
Click here to read the entire letter.
The letter was signed by Senators Schumer (D-NY), Murray (D-WA), Peters (D-MI), Baldwin (D-WI), Markey (D-MA), Blumenthal (D-CT), Durbin (D-IL), Brown (D-OH), Duckworth (D-IL), Booker (D-NJ), Cantwell (D-WA), Whitehouse (D-RI), Rosen (D-NV), Schatz (D-HI), Murphy (D-CT), Casey (D-PA), Cardin (D-MD), Kaine (D-VA), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Warren (D-MA), Feinstein (D-CA), Wyden (D-OR), Reed (D-RI), Leahy (D-VT), Klobuchar (D-MN), King (I-ME), Shaheen (D-NH), Menendez (D-NJ), Hassan (D-NH), Hirono (D-HI), Stabenow (D-MI), Merkley (D-OR), Harris (D-CA), Carper (D-DE), Gillibrand (D-NY), and Sinema (D-AZ).