Column

McSweeney: Now is the time for unity, not politics

State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills
State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills

Now is the time for all politicians to stop playing politics with the COVID-19 public health crisis. We are Americans and can successfully work through this crisis if we remain united.

Our leaders in D.C. should be working together to develop a bipartisan economic policy response to the situation. Instead, some politicians are more focused on scoring political points.

That includes Gov. Pritzker, who uses ever opportunity to take partisan shots about the crisis. The governor should bring us together by appointing a well-respected public health professional to be the Illinois Coronavirus Czar who will inform the public and coordinate with the federal government.

Recently, I participated by phone in a state leaders COVID-19 update call organized by the White House. Senior officials from the White House, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education and the Small Business Administration (SBA) participated in the call.

Below is an overview of what was discussed on the call and by other credible sources: 

Generally, the risk to the American people remains low.

The keys to limiting the spread of COVID-19 are enhanced personal hygiene, limiting exposure to some large crowds and limiting travel from high risk counties.

Elderly people are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. At least 19 people have died at a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities will be regulated and carefully monitored.

Early steps to limit travelers from China were effective in reducing exposure. The biggest current concern is the Mediterranean region, especially Northern Italy.

The Pence Task Force is responsible for coordinating the federal response to the COVID-19 crisis. The President has given the task force the authority to do whatever is necessary to cut through bureaucratic impediments.

The two most important task force agenda items are: (1) providing enough COVID-19 tests to states and (2) working with public and private entities on an emergency basis to develop and test a vaccine. The major focus of the OMB is to quickly spend the $8.3 billion emergency spending measure recently signed into law. The appropriation primarily allocates money to the CDC and National Institute of Health for the public health emergency fund and COVID-19 vaccine development and testing.

As confirmed by the President, the SBA will provide resources to businesses negatively affected by the outbreak.

Let us work together as Americans to fight this virus and we will win. There is no room for cheap shots or partisan politics when it comes to the health of the American people.

• State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills

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