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RELEASE: Rep. Khanna Calls for Two-Week Mandatory Nationwide Shelter in Place

March 24, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17), joined by 19 Democratic U.S. Representatives, called for a national shelter-in-place order to combat the spread of COVID-19 across the United States of America. As the infection rate climbs and the strain on the American health care system worsens, the federal government cannot continue to slow-walk its response. 

“The total number of COVID-19 cases and deaths have nearly doubled in the last two days,” said Rep. Ro Khanna. “We’re watching our health care system collapse before us. We’re seeing people separated from their loved ones. We’re witnessing students shut out from their classrooms and workers let go from their jobs. If we want to demonstrate true American leadership and stop this outbreak, we need a nationwide shelter in place order. Let’s listen to the experts who are telling us that step is the only way we can truly mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Months of continued half-measures will cost us far more than two weeks of sheltering in place.”

The American health care system typically operates near full capacity and is already experiencing shortages of N95 masks, protective eye gear, and other necessary equipment to protect our doctors and nurses. An influx of patients due to continued spread of COVID-19, some of whom will require intensive care, will likely exceed our supply of hospital beds and ventilators, leading to rationing of care and more deaths.

Given insufficient availability of mass testing and the ability for asymptomatic individuals to unknowingly spread the coronavirus, the federal government must reduce person-to-person contact to the bare minimum by issuing a two-week nationwide shelter-in-place order immediately. It is the only proven way to limit the growth of confirmed cases, insulate our health care system, and prevent catastrophe.

Additionally, Rep. Khanna is calling on Congress to vote remotely to pass an economic stimulus response bill that will save jobs, replace lost incomes, and lift up all Americans. Three Republican Governors have already called for this as well; Ohio, West Virginia and Indiana.

Preventive action will save trillions of dollars in the long run and many priceless lives.

Co-Signers of the letter are: Anthony Brown (MD-04), Jim Cooper (TN-05), Susan Davis (CA-53), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-4), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Andy Lowenthal (CA-47), Stephen Lynch (MA-08), Debbie Mucarsel-Powel (FL-26), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), José E. Serrano (NY-15), Darren Soto (FL-09), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Lori Trahan (MA-03), 

Read the final letter here or embedded below.

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The Honorable Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

 

Mr. President:
 

We urge you to immediately issue a nationwide “shelter-in-place” order in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. At the time of writing, 43,499 Americans in all 50 states have confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 537 have died. Worldwide, it has killed tens of thousands and sickened hundreds of thousands. There is no FDA-approved vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 and, without significant mitigating action, our already-strained health care system could be overwhelmed, leading to the deaths of tens of thousands more Americans.

Our current actions to stem the tide are not enough. The total number of COVID-19 cases and deaths have nearly doubled over the last 48 hours. At this rate, we will surpass one million confirmed cases and 13,000 deaths within the next ten days. Our health care system typically operates near full capacity and is already experiencing shortages of N95 masks, protective eye gear, and other necessary equipment to protect our doctors and nurses. An influx of this many patients, some of whom will require intensive care, will likely exceed our supply of hospital beds and ventilators, leading to rationing of care and more deaths.

To effectively slow COVID-19’s spread, we must issue a shelter-in-place order for the entire country lasting at least two weeks, excepting only travel for essential services like grocery stores and health care providers, and to and from the workplace for critical workers. California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin have already issued similar shelter-in-place orders. A national order would create minimum guidelines and requirements for each state to implement, with enforcement handled at the state level.

Given insufficient availability of mass testing and the ability for asymptomatic individuals to unknowingly spread the coronavirus, we must reduce person-to-person contact to the bare minimum. It is the only proven way we can limit the growth of confirmed cases, insulate our health care system, and prevent catastrophe.

There is no doubt that an action of this magnitude will temporarily disrupt daily lives and cause short-term economic pain, but it will help prevent an extended outbreak and response that could plunge us deep into a long-lasting recession. As soon as possible, Congress must vote remotely to pass an economic stimulus response bill that will save jobs, replace lost incomes, and lift up all Americans. The cost of preventive action will save trillions of dollars in the long run and many priceless lives.

We must not hesitate. If we wait to act until the number of sick and dead reaches a certain threshold, then it will be too late. A state-by-state, locality-by-locality approach is not enough. Without action, the U.S. could end up like Italy, Spain, or worse. We thus urge you to immediately issue a nationwide shelter-in-place order.

 

Sincerely,

 

Ro Khanna

Member of Congress

 

Cosigned by:

Rep. Anthony G. Brown

Rep. Jim Cooper

Rep. Susan Davis

Rep. Veronica Escobar

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Rep. Jesús G. “Chuy” García

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez

Rep. Barbara Lee

Rep. Alan Lowenthal

Rep. Stephen F. Lynch

Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton

Rep. Mark Pocan

Rep. Jamie Raskin

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon

Rep. José E. Serrano

Rep. Darren Soto

Rep. Rashida Tlaib

Rep. Lori Trahan

 

CC: The Honorable Michael R. Pence, Vice President of the United States
The Honorable Alex M. Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services

 

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About the Office

Congressman Khanna represents the 17th District of California, which covers communities in Silicon Valley. Visit his website at khanna.house.gov. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @RepRoKhanna.