U.S. Congressman Tom Cole | E-Newsletter
SPECIAL DISTRICT UPDATE | March 18, 2020 Click here if you have trouble viewing this email
U.S. Congressman Tom Cole
With confirmed cases of COVID-19 multiplying rapidly across the nation and around the world, there is increasing concern about how to effectively slow the spread of this mysterious coronavirus in the United States. While I am grateful for the Trump Administration’s swift and decisive response thus far, the reality is that each of us have a part to play in saving and protecting lives during this pandemic.

President Donald Trump rightly acknowledged the critical nature of the situation last week by declaring a national emergency. Moreover, he issued new travel restrictions effectively banning European visitors from entering the United States. These pointed measures are unprecedented, but it shows that the president is willing to go to great lengths to protect American lives and livelihoods. He is wise to act cautiously and seriously on the nation’s behalf. 

While the worsening situation has led to alarming stock market drops and swings, the spread of this coronavirus has also caused unthinkable disruptions to our daily lives, and it will continue to do so for some time. While it is easy to get discouraged or even feel scared as events and plans are canceled and with business as usual on hold, it’s important to heed the direction of our government leaders and health authorities. I am encouraged by the work of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force and the regular public briefings they are providing to the American people. But for life to return to normal, every single one of us must commit to taking precautions.

By knowing the symptoms and when to seek medical help, you can do your part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. The most common symptoms of this coronavirus are fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. If you are experiencing these symptoms, please contact your medical provider before visiting a doctor's office or clinic. 

Whether you have been following the situation through news sources or on social media, by now you have probably heard the directive to flatten the curve.” This is in reference to how we can collectively contain and defeat the virus, preventing it from reaching more communities and overwhelming our health system. 

At the most basic level, this includes washing your hands thoroughly and often – for at least 20 seconds – and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily. If you cannot immediately wash your hands with soap and water, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. And as much as possible, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. If you are sick, protect the health of others and stop the spread of germs by keeping your distance, covering your mouth when you cough and throwing away used tissues. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the President’s Coronavirus Task Force recently issued new guidance for preventing community spread. For the next eight weeks, it is strongly recommended that organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States. This week, the Task Force also advised Americans to avoid gatherings of 10 people or more for at least the next 15 days. Even with many events canceled, it may be tempting to be out and about as usual interacting with people or joining informal large gatherings. However, whether you feel sick or not, do your best to stay in as much as possible to avoid contracting or becoming a carrier of the virus. Even if you don’t think you are at risk, there are many vulnerable populations – including older Americans and those with pre-existing respiratory illness – who may not be able to recover. If fewer people contract the virus though, more lives will ultimately be saved. And the better off we all will be.

 
While the situation is ever-changing, we can and will get through it together. In the days ahead, please commit to doing your part in protecting yourself, your family, your loved ones and the most vulnerable in our communities. For the latest guidance, I encourage you to frequently check the CDC’s dedicated website on the ongoing nationwide response to COVID-19: coronavirus.gov. For the latest guidance on the situation in communities across our state, including testing, please consult the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s special website here: coronavirus.health.ok.gov.
 
If you have additional questions or need assistance with another matter, my staff is available to help. There are numerous ways to reach out and stay connected. To send an email on my website, please click here. I will also provide regular updates on my Facebook and Twitter pages and in my e-newsletter

To speak directly with a staff member, please call my Norman office at (405) 329-6500. 


Sincerely,
Tom Cole
Member of Congress



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RESOURCES
President Trump and the Coronavirus Task Force strongly advise Americans to avoid gatherings of 10 people or more for at least the next 15 days. Read their additional guidelines for protecting your families and communities here
 
Do you know what social distancing is and why it's vitally important to slowing the spread of COVID-19? Watch this explanatory video from members of the Coronavirus Task Force to find out and take action in your communities.
 
In response to COVID-19, the Small Business Administration has updated guidance on the resources available to small businesses. Learn more here

In response to COVID-19, the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Department of Treasury have announced a 90-day delay in the deadline for many Americans to file and pay their due taxes. Learn more.  
 
For a comprehensive listing of resources and information about what the federal government is doing as a whole to respond to COVID-19, click here

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