Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said "respected professionals with decades of experience are the right people to give the American people accurate information about the coronavirus--both what individuals can do and what the federal government is doing to respond."
"Around the world, the spread of the coronavirus is alarming, with nearly 90,000 cases in about 70 countries and 3,000 deaths, as of yesterday morning, according to the World Health Organization," Alexander said. "But most people in the United States are at low-risk."
Alexander continued: "Here is what the New York Times said on their front page on Sunday: 'Much about the coronavirus remains unclear, and it is far from certain that the outbreak will reach severe proportions in the United States or affect many regions at once. With its top-notch scientists, modern hospitals and sprawling public health infrastructure, most experts agree, the United States is among the countries best prepared to prevent or manage such an epidemic.'"
Alexander concluded: "Today, there are reports of over 100 cases, and there have been six deaths, in the United States. And in addition to the human suffering the virus is causing, it is disrupting the global economy.
"According to the United States Trade Representative, more than 20 percent of everything we import is made in China--medicines, car parts, cell phones, televisions, washing machines.
"In the short-term this could disrupt American companies' ability to buy and transport goods and materials. In the long-term, the production of these goods could shift, which could affect jobs and prices.
"The goal of this hearing is to provide the American people with accurate information on the coronavirus that they can rely on in their in everyday lives."
Chairman Alexander made his remarks today during the Senate health committee hearing on the coronavirus. The hearing--"An Emerging Disease Threat: How the U.S. Is Responding to COVID-19, the Novel Coronavirus"--is an opportunity to hear from officials from the Department of Health and Human Services, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration, about steps the federal government and state and local health officials are taking to respond to this public health threat and prevent the spread of disease in the United States.
View Chairman Alexander's opening statement here.