Update on the coronavirus

Update on the coronavirus

March 23, 2020

Dear Friend,

I will have another newsletter later this evening with details of what is in the Senate bill that is currently stalled.  Things looked great for this package yesterday, which Democrat and Republican members had been working on for the past week.  But then Speaker Pelosi flew back into DC and put the brakes on it.  She and Senator Schumer, Minority Leader of the U.S. Senate, have decided to use this as a vehicle to enact sweeping carbon-control measures on airlines along with other Green New Deal and labor union wish-list items.  

Under Senate rules, you must have 60 votes to advance legislation.  Meanwhile, Senator McConnell, Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, has 5 Republicans who cannot vote — one has tested possible for COVID-9 and four others are quarantined because they have been near someone who has it.  Therefore, for anything to move forward, McConnell has to have an agreement with Senator Schumer.  And he isn’t going to agree to anything that Speaker Pelosi doesn’t approve.  So there you go. 

I anticipate that an agreement will get worked out — it’s just a big question of exactly when that will be…

Meanwhile, here in North Carolina, Gov. Cooper has issued an order effective on Wednesday at 5 p.m. that mandates the closure of:

  • Entertainment facilities
  • Gyms, movie theaters, etc
  • Personal care facilities such as salons, barber shops and tattoo parlors

Additionally, the school closure has been extended to May 15.  Public gatherings will be limited to no more than 50 participants.  Restaurants providing delivery and carry-out service will remain open.

The Governor has formally asked the federal government for the declaration of a major disaster, enabling the state to access a range of federal response and recovery resources.

The Governor has also put out a call for volunteer health care workers.  Specifically, the state is looking for volunteers in the following areas:

  • Clinical (physicians, advanced care providers, nurses, EMS) 
  • Clinical Support (pharmacy, imaging and respiratory care) 
  • Non-clinical support (facility maintenance, safety, and administrative)

They are also asking volunteers to provide medical supplies if they are able, including personal protective equipment.  If you are able to volunteer, please register here.

I also want to share some information from the State Department on the status of Americans currently stranded in Peru, Guatemala, Honduras, and the Philippines.  My office has received country-specific information from the Department on each, which you can view on my website here.

As always, please stay tuned to Coronavirus.gov and NC’s Department of Health and Human Services for the latest on the crisis.