Sen. Moran joins health experts on COVID-19 panel, addresses federal legislation and other issues

photo by: Associated Press

In this file photo, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., answers questions from reporters after a round table discussion with law enforcement officials and U.S. Attorney General William Barr at Wichita State University, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, in Wichita, Kansas. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran on Monday joined a panel of health experts at the University of Kansas Health System to update the status of federal legislation that could bring millions of relief dollars to the Sunflower State for economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moran, a Republican from Kansas, lobbed some of the blame for the nearly $2 trillion economic stimulus package not passing at U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., but ultimately said that the bill was a “gamut of ideas put into legislation” that he wants to resolve so the American people can see relief.

In addition to providing economic relief for the everyday taxpayer and those faced with sudden unemployment, the stimulus also takes dramatic steps to ensure health care providers have increased resources to fight the coronavirus. The respiratory virus has infected over 43,000 people in the U.S. and has killed 579 as of Monday evening, according to a Johns Hopkins University database.

“The economy can’t recover until people feel secure in their health,” Moran said. “And the other part of this is to make sure our health care providers have the necessary resources (to combat this virus).”

Dr. Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, spoke on the panel and said Kansas was seemingly in the middle of the pack across the country in terms of the severity of the virus.

Kansas jumped to 82 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of 10 a.m. Monday, KDHE announced.

“This is a unique situation, the likes of which I’ve never seen before. It’s called the novel coronavirus for a reason,” Norman said. “It’s unmitigated by the traditional methods of vaccination and medications. So we have to rely on public health principles that are hundreds of years old.”

Norman also cautioned against consuming unverified information on social media and allowing it to drive public opinion.

Dr. Steve Stites, the chief medical officer for the University of Kansas Health System, encouraged people to “channel their fear” when it comes to the coronavirus. It comes down to the doorknob principle, Stites said.

Put simply, if you don’t go out, you can’t interact with people or things — like doorknobs — contaminated with an infectious disease.

“When you’re at home you’re in a much safer environment and you can control that environment,” he said. “(The virus) doesn’t jump across time and space, it has to have some form of contact from one person to another.”

Several Kansas counties, including Douglas County, have issued mandatory stay-at-home orders for the next month in the hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19.

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