January 29, 2020

Durbin, Duckworth Receive Update on Coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


[WASHINGTON, D.C] – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today received an update on the novel coronavirus outbreak from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat.  On a call with Dr. Schuchat, the Senators asked about the agency’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China, and asked for information on the steps being taken to keep Illinois families safe.  This week, the CDC recommended that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China and expanded the screening of passengers traveling from Wuhan to the U.S. from five to 20 airports.

“As we continue to monitor the spread of coronavirus in the United States, Senator Duckworth and I are thankful for the work the CDC, together with our state and local health officials, are doing to keep Illinoisans informed and safe,” Durbin said.  “This virus is being taken seriously and monitored very carefully.”

“I greatly appreciate the CDC’s willingness to speak with us about the work they are doing to contain and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus—both in Illinois and across the nation,” said Duckworth. “While experts believe the risk to the American public is still currently low, anyone who may have been exposed to coronavirus should call their doctor and follow CDC guidance on treatment and best practices. Senator Durbin and I will continue to monitor this situation and we encourage researchers and international health officials to share reliable information about the disease, including insights to properly diagnose and treat patients.” 

Yesterday, Durbin and Duckworth also joined Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), and 28 of their Democratic Senate colleagues, in sending a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar requesting updates on the Administration’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.  In the letter, the Senators asked the Department to keep them updated with the latest information regarding the severity of the disease, the country’s capacity to diagnose cases, the steps being taken to prepare U.S. health care workers, the screening systems in place at U.S. airports, the status of a novel coronavirus vaccine, and more.  The Senators also urged the Department to continue its robust, scientifically-driven response to the outbreak and asked what steps Congress should take to support their efforts to keep families safe.

A copy of the letter is available here.