Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

March 6, 2020
Weekly Columns

The best ways to protect yourself and others from sickness are to thoroughly and regularly wash your hands, avoid touching your face, sanitize doorknobs, phones, keyboards and other commonly used surfaces and stay home if you’re feeling sick. Even as Coronavirus (also referred to as COVID-19) dominates news headlines, these commonsense measures are still the best way to guard against getting sick.

Many of you have contacted my office asking for more information about Coronavirus, and it’s helpful to first understand what the disease is. Initially identified in Wuhan, China, Coronavirus is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Symptoms include fevers, coughs and shortness of breath. While the U.S. has confirmed cases, the risk to the general population remains low, thanks to the aggressive response from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Trump administration.

Congress just passed legislation allocating $8.3 billion of emergency funding to contain, prevent and develop treatments for Coronavirus. President Trump signed this funding into law, which will better equip federal agencies to continue their quick response.

Congressman French Hill and I will also be hosting a telephone town hall with Dr. Nate Smith from the Arkansas Department of Health on Tuesday, March 10, at 6:30 p.m. CT. We’ll be livestreaming the event on our Facebook pages and taking questions from both callers and online commenters, so be sure to join in and learn more about the federal effort to combat Coronavirus. If you can’t join live, you can always watch the archived video at

Again, despite extensive news coverage, the risk to Americans remains low and there is no need for undue concern. If you’d like to follow the latest updates, visit the CDC’s website for their analysis.