Protecting Yourself from the Coronavirus

March 6, 2020
Frankly Speaking
by Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03)

While the coronavirus has sparked worry within our communities, as parents begin to think about the possibility of schools closing and producers begin to stress about the decrease of commodity prices, you shouldn’t panic just yet. 

Thanks to our country’s public health care leaders, the White House, and a small part played by Congress, we are well-positioned to safeguard both the health and financial well-being of our nation. 

Congress’ number one priority is the safety and protection of the American people, which is why we passed a $7.8 billion emergency funding bill to aid in the U.S. response to the coronavirus.

Included in the emergency appropriations bill is $3.1 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to develop and purchase vaccines and medical supplies, as well as $100 million for community health centers- like those in rural Oklahoma. 

It also includes $950 million to support state and local response efforts- which is extremely important for Oklahoma’s own State Department of Health and local communities.

Lastly, the bill allocates $20 million to the United States Small Business Administration to provide an estimated $7 billion in low-interest disaster loans to small business impacted by the virus.

While Congress has played its small part in helping our nation prepare for the coronavirus, the most important thing we can all do is follow the guidance of our mothers and the expertise of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a respiratory illness in which patients experience mild to severe symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. While health experts are still learning the severity of illness it causes and to what extent it may spread in the United States, the one thing they are sure of is how it’s spread. 

Spread from person-to-person through droplets in the air, the coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or comes into close contact with an individual who isn’t infected.

According to the CDC, at this time most people in the United States have little immediate risk of exposure to the virus, but that shouldn’t stop you and your family from taking precautions in order to stay healthy and safe. 

The best way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and any flu-like virus, is by avoiding people who are sick.

Many of the CDC’s recommendations are simple ones you learned from your mother: wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, cover your cough or sneeze, avoid touching your face, and stay home if you are sick.

But don’t just take your mother’s word for it- be sure to stay up to date for all the best ways to stay healthy by visiting the CDC’s website: