Dear friends and neighbors,
As COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly across the country, there is a lot of anxiety and concern. Our town, state, and Federal government have mounted a strong, four-pronged approach.
1) Controlling Transmission through Social Distancing & Curtailing “Non-Essential” Activities
These measures are necessary to help flatten the curve and ensure we do not overwhelm our healthcare system. The governor has put new restrictions on non-essential businesses in Connecticut effective 8:00 p.m. last night. Here is a list of “essential” businesses as defined by the state’s economic officials. In Greenwich, parks and beaches have been closed, and our first selectman is urging everyone using sidewalks and trails to practice social distancing.
Click here to receive update’s from First Selectman Camillo’s office.
Currently, more than 50,000 people are being tested each day. With help from the private sector, testing capacity will continue to increase. The FDA approved an “antibody test”, which takes 45 minutes and can be done on site. Today, a self-swabbing kit has been approved, which will allow individuals to collect their samples at home. These new testing methods will give us a more accurate count of those infected, help those who do test positive, and ultimately stop the spread.
3) Treatment Therapies
While there is no FDA-approved drug for COVID-19 at this point, there are some medications with encouraging results. For the CDC discussion on these potential treatment options, click here. These medications have been tested and prescribed on COVID-19 patients in other countries, including China and Japan. A study done in France for this medication has shown potential effectiveness in controlling the virus in days. Since these medications are used extensively for other diseases, they are available and can be prescribed at the attending doctors discretion. There are reports that many hospitals in the US, including in New York and Kansas, are already prescribing these drugs to patients. Additionally, there are other advanced stage clinical trials being done for other drugs, which show promise. In summary, treatments for this virus are in sight and not too far away.
4) Economic Stimulus and measures taken by the Federal Reserve
Strong economic measures are being taken by the president and Congress to help reduce the economic impact on individuals, families, and businesses, while the Federal Reserve has acted decisively to ensure liquidity to businesses and ensure the functioning of the financial markets. This has resulted in lower interest rates, especially for mortgages, which has given homeowners the opportunity to refinance and, hopefully, reduce their monthly expenses during this challenging time. Although it has yet to pass, Congress is working on a stimulus package to help people struggling through this adversity, and it appears the bill is near completion. The final bill may include loans, which may be forgiven over time, for small-and-mid-sized businesses who keep their employees on payroll during this crisis. This could help prevent high unemployment, as we saw in 2008. There is also a plan to directly support individuals and families with emergency payments.
As testing for COVID-19 improves and becomes more streamlined, as treatments become available, and as the number of new cases levels off, restrictions will gradually be lifted, economic conditions will begin to stabilize, and our daily lives will eventually return to normal. This will not happen overnight, but our officials and so many others are working non-stop to achieve this goal. I applaud each of them, especially our healthcare professionals who are on the front lines, and I am confident we will win this battle. Keep the faith.
State Representative Harry Arora
151st General Assembly District