On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director urging the agency to immediately launch a 24/7, fully staffed phone hotline to address questions from the American public about coronavirus. Scott also urged the agency to hold regular conference calls with state and local health officials to provide up-to-date information and resources available to combat coronavirus.
Dear Director Redfield:
I am extremely concerned about the outbreak of the Chinese Coronavirus, which has extended well beyond Communist China and is now rapidly spreading in Europe, Asia, the Americas and the Middle East. With these new developments, we must continue to do everything in our power to remain vigilant and prepared for the potential spread of the Chinese Coronavirus within the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plays a critical role in protecting public health and communicating with at-risk local communities during an outbreak. As the global threat posed by the Chinese Coronavirus continues to grow, and our domestic preparedness becomes increasingly urgent, please provide me with updates on the following:
- Does the CDC have a timely process to address questions from citizens about the Chinese Coronavirus? If not, I urge the CDC to immediately start a staffed hotline available 24/7 to address questions from the public.
- How does the CDC provide up-to-date information to state and/or local health officials? I urge the CDC to schedule regular conference calls with state and/or local health officials on the Chinese Coronavirus.
- According to reports, some of the test kits originally provided by the CDC to states to enable in-state diagnosis of the Chinese Coronavirus were defective and new test kits may be required.
- When will the new test kits be sent and useable by the states, if they have not been sent already?
- What is the nature of the problem that states have encountered with these test kits?
- Reports indicate that a dozen locations have working test kits. Please confirm which states or localities have working test kits.
- Does the CDC or the United States Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) plan to reimburse states for the cost of quarantining patients at local hospitals?
- What training does the CDC provide to local health workers to prevent close contact spread of the Chinese Coronavirus?
The CDC and HHS are the lead agencies for controlling the spread of this disease. I look forward to continuing to work with you to be as transparent as possible as we keep Americans safe.