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Congressman Anthony Brown Joins 19 House Democrats Calling for a Two-Week Mandatory Nationwide Shelter in Place

Washington, March 25, 2020
“Without urgent action, our hospitals will face devastating choices as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) joined Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17) and 18 other House Democrats calling for a national shelter-in-place order to combat the spread of COVID-19 across the United States of America. In a letter to President Donald Trump, the lawmakers urge aggressive action by the federal government to ease the burden on hospitals treating a surge of patients.

“Without urgent action, our hospitals will face devastating choices as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb,” said Congressman Anthony Brown. “A patchwork system of guidance will not stop the spread. This is a pivotal moment for our country’s response to this outbreak. We don’t want to look back and wonder if we could have done more to save lives. The time for action is now.”

Given insufficient availability of mass testing and the ability for asymptomatic individuals to unknowingly spread the coronavirus, the federal government must reduce person-to-person contact to the bare minimum  - the only proven way to limit the growth of confirmed cases, insulate our health care system and prevent catastrophe.

Congressman Anthony Brown has applauded the bold actions of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to address this public health crisis. Uniform, nationwide guidance will ensure these efforts protect all Americans and limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Full letter can be read below.

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The Honorable Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

 

Mr. President:


We urge you to immediately issue a nationwide “shelter-in-place” order in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. At the time of writing, 43,499 Americans in all 50 states have confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 537 have died. Worldwide, it has killed tens of thousands and sickened hundreds of thousands. There is no FDA-approved vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 and, without significant mitigating action, our already-strained health care system could be overwhelmed, leading to the deaths of tens of thousands more Americans.

Our current actions to stem the tide are not enough. The total number of COVID-19 cases and deaths have nearly doubled over the last 48 hours. At this rate, we will surpass one million confirmed cases and 13,000 deaths within the next ten days. Our health care system typically operates near full capacity and is already experiencing shortages of N95 masks, protective eye gear, and other necessary equipment to protect our doctors and nurses. An influx of this many patients, some of whom will require intensive care, will likely exceed our supply of hospital beds and ventilators, leading to rationing of care and more deaths.

To effectively slow COVID-19’s spread, we must issue a shelter-in-place order for the entire country lasting at least two weeks, excepting only travel for essential services like grocery stores and health care providers, and to and from the workplace for critical workers. California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin have already issued similar shelter-in-place orders. A national order would create minimum guidelines and requirements for each state to implement, with enforcement handled at the state level.

Given insufficient availability of mass testing and the ability for asymptomatic individuals to unknowingly spread the coronavirus, we must reduce person-to-person contact to the bare minimum. It is the only proven way we can limit the growth of confirmed cases, insulate our health care system, and prevent catastrophe.

There is no doubt that an action of this magnitude will temporarily disrupt daily lives and cause short-term economic pain, but it will help prevent an extended outbreak and response that could plunge us deep into a long-lasting recession. As soon as possible, Congress must vote remotely to pass an economic stimulus response bill that will save jobs, replace lost incomes, and lift up all Americans. The cost of preventive action will save trillions of dollars in the long run and many priceless lives.

We must not hesitate. If we wait to act until the number of sick and dead reaches a certain threshold, then it will be too late. A state-by-state, locality-by-locality approach is not enough. Without action, the U.S. could end up like Italy, Spain, or worse. We thus urge you to immediately issue a nationwide shelter-in-place order.


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