As Americans across our country take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their communities against the coronavirus, they can rest assured that President Donald Trump’s administration is coordinating an unprecedented and aggressive approach to combat this pandemic.
Back in January, when this virus was identified in China, Trump took initiative by instituting travel restrictions to and from the country, significantly slowing the spread of the virus to the United States. Then, before the World Health Organization deemed Europe the “epicenter” of the pandemic, the president imposed a suspension on travel to and from Europe, prompting other nations to follow this aggressive example.
Additionally, in order to combat coronavirus here at home and protect the health of our nation, Trump committed billions of dollars in resources to address the virus, transferring $35 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help state and local communities. Trump even donated his presidential quarterly salary to the Department of Health and Human Services in order to support continuing efforts to confront coronavirus head-on.
As schools and businesses across the country close to prevent further infections, Trump is taking steps to help protect small businesses and workers by providing relief for Americans who are ill, quarantined, or caring for others.
Working with Congress, the president called for an extension of relief by allowing the Small Business Administration to offer up to $50 billion in loans to small businesses, as well as directing the Treasury Department to defer tax payments without interest or penalty for businesses and individuals who have been affected.
Further easing some of the uncertainty plaguing families in these stressful times, Trump also signed the Families First coronavirus Response Act which includes free testing, paid leave, additional Medicaid funding, unemployment insurance, and food assistance.
It is clear to me at this point that the president’s ambitious and aggressive plan to combat coronavirus is working, and even critical Democrats have not denied how effective some of the president’s measures have been. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo thanked Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for moving quickly on testing, while Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said, “I believe the agencies of the federal government are being very diligent in helping our state.”
Even New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, who was gunning for the president’s job a few months ago, said the China travel ban was warranted.
Here in Maine, Sen. Susan Collins is working hard to equip and prepare our state for the pandemic. Recently, she announced that she is sponsoring a bill to ensure that small businesses — especially those in the hospitality industry — are able to keep their employees on payroll as they adjust to our nation’s protective measures against coronavirus and the public’s efforts to social distance.
In Maine, where tourism brings more than $6 billion into our state every year, the senator’s initiative will protect our workers in this vitally important industry.
Getting ahead of this pandemic is crucial, and Collins has worked to ensure that Mainers are prepared and equipped to tackle it head-on. Recently, she helped announce that Maine received more than $4.6 million in federal funding to fight coronavirus, before even a single person tested positive in Maine.
Maine Center for Disease Control Director Dr. Nirav Shah praised the coronavirus funding, announcing “these funds will bolster our capacity to respond to the potential arrival of the virus in Maine and support our efforts to protect the health of Maine people and communities.”
Thanks to strong national leadership from Trump and Maine leaders like Collins, we can rest assured that every precaution is being taken to protect Maine families and communities from harm in the face of this pandemic.
Dr. Demi Kouzounas is a dentist and chair of the Maine Republican Party.