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A Doctor's note on Coronavirus
Posted by on March 18, 2020 | comments
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Dear Friends,

I kicked off my morning by talking with Maria Bartiromoto share insight on the economic impact of the Coronavirus and the resiliency of the American people.

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Congress is working on legislation to mitigate any economic hardship on businesses and individuals due to this outbreak. Congress’ work is not done, and the legislative branch will continue to work for the American people impacted by this pandemic.

Today, President Trump declared that the Department of Housing and Urban Development will be suspending all foreclosure actions against renters and homeowners.

Here is a list of additional economic measures being taken.

  • Administration is increasing liquidity by establishing a Commercial Paper Funding Facility to provide $10 billion of credit protection to purchase commercial paper (short-term financial instruments that give businesses cash for payroll and other bills).
  • The Federal Reserve published an interim final rule to encourage banks to use capital resources to increase lending to consumers and use the Federal Reserve’s discount window for immediate liquidity if needed.
  • On March 15th, the Federal Reserve cut the interest to 0%.
  • COVID-19 triggers protocols similar to a natural disaster so homeowners and renters can qualify for relief under hardship forbearance measures.
  • Tax payments are deferred until June 2020.
  • The Administration authorized the purchase of oil to replenish the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to stabilize the oil and gas domestic market.
  • On March 18th, President Trump activated Defense Production Act authorities to expedite and expand resources from the U.S. industrial base that will help increase the supply of personal protection equipment, including masks and respirators.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued new guidance for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Infection control in these facilities is vital in an effective response. These organizations serve older adults and individuals with severe medical conditions who are most at-risk of getting this coronavirus. The guidelines are aimed at prompt detection, triage, and isolation where needed to prevent unnecessary exposure to other patients and health care workers.

Our government and private industry are working toward innovative solutions to better combat this coronavirus outbreak. Today, the Department of Health and Human Services announced support for Mesa Biotech’s work on developing a rapid diagnostic to detect this coronavirus infection. Mesa Biotech’s test is the fourth diagnostic to receive development funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

Community Health Centers provide critical health services to our nation’s most vulnerable patients and are playing a key role in responding to this coronavirus. Today, the Health Resources and Services Administration requested that health centers start sharing information about the effect of this coronavirus on their operations and the challenges they are facing. This reporting will be important in informing our nation’s ongoing response.

Biomedical innovation will continue, even during this pandemic. That is why the Food and Drug Administration released guidance to provide stakeholders engaged in ongoing clinical trials how to safely proceed. This guidance will help the development of new medical products, including drugs, devices and biological products, continue without compromising the integrity of the clinical trials.

North Texas Update:

State and local county health officials have promised to make tests available for this coronavirus. Governor Abbott estimated the state will be able to test 10,000 people by the end of the week.

Local officials have announced new clinics to ensure patients have increased access to care. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced the pending opening of two clinics in Grand Prairie and at the American Airlines Center.

Yesterday, Denton Country issued a Disaster Declaration. This declaration included social distancing recommendations, such as limiting all public gatherings to 50 people or fewer.

Until tomorrow, this is your doctor's note.
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Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.

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