TJ Cox addresses Coronavirus concerns

Mariah Arviso, Reporter

U.S. Rep. TJ Cox held an online town hall meeting to address community concerns about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 16.

Dr. Rais Vohra, from the Fresno County Department of Public Health, accompanied Cox to discuss concerns such as, how long the pandemic should last, how you can stay protected and how the virus can be slowed down to prevent it from spreading.

The fatality rate for COVID-19 is currently 3%, based on statistics that stem mostly from Europe and China. Although someone may not show symptoms, Vohra explained that those that came into contact with anyone carrying the virus will still be highly contagious.

The term social distancing was used throughout the conference to emphasize the importance of trying to control the virus. Vohra recommended staying 6 feet away from anyone you come into contact with.

Testing for COVID-19 is only recommended for those that show mild symptoms such as high fever, uncontrollable coughing and body aches. All test results take three to five days to get back to the owner.

According to Cox, the hospitals are in disaster preparation mode, meaning, “[Government Officials] organized teams for every medical practice… we are all taking plans and making plans to handle the crisis that is happening.”

The hospitals are in the process of figuring out their capacity levels and how much medicine and medical equipment they are keeping in stock. Although there are less severe strains of coronavirus, COVID-19 is the most severe.

The Senate is in the process of passing a bill that includes, but is not limited to, paid emergency leave, free testing and increased funding for medical practices. The bill was proposed on March 14 and is still awaiting approval from the senate. An 8.3 billion dollar bill was passed on March 16 to give more federal funding to quickly develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

“We advise that everyone focuses on practicing good hygiene such as washing your hands, use hand sanitizer if you if, but again don’t panic if you don’t,” Vohra said. “Practice social distancing, and I believe we can control this virus from spreading more.”