As reports of event cancellations and preparations amid concerns on the spread of the coronavirus continue nationwide today. Officials are stressing the need for caution but are also asking for people to remain calm as health experts work to learn more about about the virus.
Locally, Congressman Darin LaHood says that although he believes there has been some hysteria over COVID-19, the U.S. has good reason to be concerned.
“I think if you look around the world and you see what’s happened in South Korea, and Italy and Iran, there is need to be concerned. You know, two weeks ago they had nine cases in Italy, they have nine thousand today. So I think he have to be conscious of that, and the spread, and we gotta make sure we are doing everything possible.”
State officials announced yesterday that another six cases have been confirmed in Illinois, bringing the total to 25 people infected in the state.
LaHood says that although there is adverse reaction in the public, he feels there is no reason to panic.
“Obviously the country is reacting in terms of what is happening in some of our industries, the travel industry and what is happening in the energy markets, and other things, so people are reacting. Is there some hysteria, of course there is. There always is when you have something that is really an unknown like this. But I think at this point we are prepared well and we are doing everything possible.”
LaHood says he does think that President Donald Trump has put in place a good team of medical personnel for doctors and researchers from the CDC. He says he believes the government is well prepared, but there are still many unknowns that will play out over the next several months.
LaHood says that research is continuing on COVID-19 in an effort to create a vaccination to the virus, but that the population needs to have realistic expectations as to when one might be available.
“I think the reality is a vaccination is a year and a half to two years away. I don’t think you can expedite that and speed that up, and that’s what we need to understand. It doesn’t mean we stop that research, clearly is has to go on. We have to invest in and work on that, but we are not going to find the cure for this in the next couple of months.”
LaHood says that he believes President Trump’s plan to cut payroll taxes for those stricken with the virus is a good move, but he also cautions that there needs to be a balance as to how far that tax is cut.
LaHood says that he believes the cut can bring some relief to both businesses and employees, but that with a $1 trillion dollar deficit in Illinois, and $22 trillion at the federal government level, he and his colleagues in Congress must always be conscious of how much they are spending, and balancing that with the need that is out there.