Florida’s senior Republican Sen. Marco Rubio on Tuesday urged people to take the new coronavirus seriously and not make it a partisan matter while also charging that it is “inexplicable and inexcusable” that the U.S. does not have enough test kits.
In an almost eight-minute video posted on Twitter, Rubio said that the matter is too serious to “play the blame game” or try to make partisan hay. And he cautioned people that the virus also is too serious for people to not take it seriously.
“This is neither a time for hysteria nor a time for complacency,” Rubio said. “This is a time to recognize we are facing a major viral outbreak that is impacting the world and is impacting and will impact our country. It will be economically disruptive. It will be socially disruptive. It will have health consequences. But if we do not confront this with seriousness, based on facts, and together, and effectively, it will be far worse than it needs to be.
“And so I hope that we can put aside all the things that divide us. Because this is something that should unite us,” he added.
In a tweet accompanying the video, Rubio wrote, “#COVID19 isn’t a media conspiracy, Trump’s fault or just like the flu. It’s a real public health emergency that will have a significant impact on public, economy & our daily lives. #Coronavirus will require personal responsibility, individual action & effective govt measures.”
For most people, the new coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, causes only mild to moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illnesses, including pneumonia. More than 115,800 people have been infected worldwide and over 4,000 have died.
The World Health Organization says people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while severe cases may last three to six weeks. In mainland China, where the outbreak emerged in December, almost three-fourths of its more than 80,000 patients have recovered.
Rubio divided his recommendations into two parts. He expounded on individual responsibility of washing hands and avoiding people who might be infected. The government, he said, must work on antivirals and a vaccine, but also must do a much better job of making sure test kits are available.
“It is inexplicable and inexcusable that this far into the game we do not have more tests available at the local level to be able to test people in hospitals and at doctor’s offices,” Rubio said. “That needs to be made available immediately so we know who to stay away from, and we know who is infected and needs to stay at home.”
The Republican Senator cautioned people, presumably Republicans, though he did not cite parties, to stop disbelieving the virus is serious in favor of perceiving it as hysteria ramped up by President Donald Trump‘s opponents who are trying to blame him for the outbreak.
“We are not dealing with some overblown conspiracy that is designed to undermine the President or Republicans. This virus is real. It has basically shut down Italy, which is an advanced economy,” Rubio said.
He also repeatedly lashed out at people and the media trying to make the crisis a partisan issue, mostly accusing Democrats, without naming parties, expressing frustration at people, “trying to blame the President, or blaming ineptness or government incompetence.”
“You’re turning the other half of the country off, and we can’t afford that right now,” Rubio said to people trying to blame Trump or accuse the government of incompetence. “What we need is for people to be listening, and to believe what they are hearing, when public health experts go on television, not to dismiss them because of what network they went on.”
#COVID19 isn’t a media conspiracy,Trump’s fault or just like the flu
It’s a real public health emergency that will have a significant impact on public,economy & our daily lives#Coronavirus will require personal responsibility,individual action & effective govt measures pic.twitter.com/5Pk5yhpbEh
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 10, 2020