Marco Rubio, Rick Scott Focus on Growing Threat of Coronavirus

Florida’s two U.S. senators–Republicans Marco Rubio and Rick Scott–continued to focus on coronavirus as its impact grows larger, impacting more Americans.

The senators joined Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez and other leaders in West Palm Beach on Friday to focus on coronavirus.

“Just as we saw with Zika, local communities are the first to respond, and I was proud to join Senator Rubio, Lt. Governor Nuñez and local leaders in West Palm Beach today to hear firsthand what resources and information they need from the federal government to prevent the spread of the Chinese coronavirus,” Scott said after the meeting. “I was glad to see the president approve $8.3 billion in critical funding this morning to help continue to prepare for and combat the Chinese coronavirus in the United States. However, the threat of the Chinese coronavirus is not going away, and we must keep working to protect Americans.”

“My top priority as a senator for the state of Florida is to protect the health and safety of our residents. Our best defense to combat this virus is at the local level. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate, and the administration, as well as Governor DeSantis to ensure that our local governments are equipped with the necessary resources to respond rapidly and effectively to this growing global health crisis,” Rubio said.

“The state of Florida, under the leadership of Governor DeSantis and state Surgeon General Rivkees, has been diligently preparing and responding, ensuring the health and safety of all Floridians,”Nuñez said. “Thank you Senator Rubio for your commitment to keeping our communities informed and prepared during the COVID-19 public health emergency.”

Rubio and Scott joined a host of other senators, led by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, the chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., the top Democrat on the special committee, in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the threat of coronavirus, especially for the elderly.

“As members of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, we write to highlight the unique health needs of the more than 50 million older adults in the United States in light of the Department’s ongoing efforts to protect Americans from the COVID-19 outbreak,” the senators wrote.

“We are particularly concerned about community spread in the United States, given the fact that older adults abroad have been the most affected by this outbreak in terms of mortality.  This is compounded by the developing situation at a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington,” the senators continued. “In recognition of age and health conditions affecting susceptibility, it is important that the Department consider the unique health needs of older Americans in all aspects of the domestic response, from hospital preparedness to the impact of drug shortages to vaccine development.”

Through his perch as the U.S. Senate Small Business Committee, Rubio joined U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Mary., the top Democrat on the committee, sent a letter to Jovita Carranza, thee administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), asking for the agency’s plan to work with states to approve Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for entities affected by the novel coronavirus as per the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, signed into law by the President today.

“We are writing to find out how the Agency is communicating with small businesses about the availability of these loans and to ensure that SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance properly approves governor’s certifications of economic injury loss for this unique, unprecedented infectious disease outbreak,” Rubio and Cardin wrote. “We expect that the agency will use the authority Congress has provided to assist as many businesses that are experiencing economic hardship due to coronavirus as possible.”

Over the weekend, Scott sent a letter to the heads of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the CDC, the FAA and the administrators of Santa Rosa County and Lee County Health Departments asking for more details on coronavirus-related deaths in Santa Rosa and Lee counties.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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