The coronavirus is obviously a front-and-center issue for Americans in every corner of the country, and effectively fighting this outbreak will require an all-of-the-above approach. U.S. health officials are working around the clock to continue learning as much as possible about the virus, how to mitigate the spread, and how to protect our loved ones. The highest levels of the federal government are focused on keeping the American people safe by ensuring health care professionals in communities around the country are well-equipped in this fight.
This is a serious situation, but you don’t need a medical degree to help work toward our collective goal of ending this outbreak as soon as possible. There are things that every South Dakotan can be doing today to help lower the risk of spreading this disease, and I would encourage anyone who is looking for comprehensive information about coronavirus “dos” and “don’ts” to visit www.coronavirus.gov or www.covid.sd.gov.
Since the coronavirus appears to be easily transmissible and may live on surfaces for several hours, it’s imperative to simply return to the basics: wash your hands, and wash them regularly; if you are sick, stay home; and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. There are also several common-sense things you can do like avoiding large crowds and delaying any unnecessary travel, particularly to highly affected areas. It goes without saying, but if you have any specific health-related questions or concerns, you should contact your health care provider for guidance.
In early March, Congress overwhelmingly approved, and the president signed, bipartisan legislation to invest in the fight against the coronavirus. We provided new federal funds to help slow the spread of the disease and accelerate the research and development of a vaccine, among other things. Congress will continue to ensure that the federal government has the necessary resources to meet the evolving needs of this outbreak.
We recently learned that several South Dakotans have tested positive for the coronavirus. While I wish we could have remained at zero cases, this development didn’t come as a surprise. State leaders had been preparing for this possibility for weeks, and I’m confident they are implementing a plan to keep South Dakotans safe. I’m committed to continue doing everything I can at the federal level to help ensure the governor and her team have the tools and support they need.
America has faced difficult times before, but we always rise to the occasion. This is one of those times, and it will require all of us to confront this challenge with a unified voice. I am confident that if we pull together, America will emerge stronger.