Senator Van Hollen visits NIH to receive an update from the team working to research and develop a potential coronavirus vaccine.

Coronavirus Resource Page

My top priority is to ensure that Marylanders have the resources they need to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and are protected from the economic hardship resulting from it. This is an unprecedented public health and economic crisis that affects every citizen. I will keep fighting to make sure that Marylanders get the relief they need.


Now more than ever, Americans are feeling the weight of the pandemic. From watching more of their neighbors and family members fall ill, to struggling to pay mounting bills and put food on the table – the costs of this virus are all too real. The most recent relief package – while not perfect – will provide much-needed help.


Since the pandemic hit hard in March, I’ve worked to pass five major COVID-19 emergency relief funding packages in Congress. The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act became law on March 6th, followed by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on March 18th. This bipartisan legislation bolstered our public health infrastructure, provided critical food assistance, and supported state unemployment insurance systems—among other key provisions.


The bipartisan CARES Act, which was signed into law on March 27th, built on that foundation by improving our public health response and testing capacity, supplying unemployment and eviction protections to those hardest hit, and providing businesses with targeted small loan and grant funding through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The relief we secured through CARES was reinforced by an additional interim bill that funded frontline health care providers and made key fixes to the PPP.


In December, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were able to come together again and put another bipartisan plan on the table. This emergency relief came after months of stonewalling by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who refused to hold a vote in the Senate on the House-passed bipartisan HEROES Act for over seven months. I worked to find common ground with bipartisan colleagues, including on the final dispute over the powers of the Federal Reserve, and was pleased to have fought for many of the priorities that were included in this package.

 

This bipartisan measure makes important progress on helping Marylanders weather the storm this winter. The package extends expanded unemployment benefits and the federal eviction moratorium and provides both rental and food assistance. It provides direct payments to help millions of families and delivers an infusion of funds to many key features of the bipartisan CARES Act, including a more-targeted Paycheck Protection Program focused on those small businesses most in need and those in hard-hit minority communities. The plan also contains necessary resources to expand testing, tracing, and safe vaccine distribution. During negotiations, I worked with my colleagues to include a number of provisions that I’ve been fighting for since the beginning of the pandemic – including funds to extend economic relief for families and small businesses, support our transit systems, marshal resources for schools and child care, and bolster SNAP and other nutrition assistance programs.


This package does not include everything I had hoped for – and the Congress will need to work together with the Biden-Harris Administration to provide more support in the future in order to help close the learning gap by getting students connected to the internet through investments in the E-rate program, and delivering funds to stabilize state and local governments to relieve regional budget pressures. But this plan will help families, workers, and small businesses across the country get by this winter and provide a bridge to new leadership in Washington.

 

Below you'll find answers to common questions about the coronavirus outbreak and information about how to access federal resources. You can stay up to date on my efforts in the Senate here. Together, we will weather this storm.

Fact Sheets and Information on Federal Funding Packages
Additional Information
COVID-19 is a virus strain, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China, which has only spread in people since December 2019.
There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, so the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. CDC recommends the following precautions:
  • Clean your hands often.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home as much as possible.
    • Put distance between yourself and other people.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
    • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
    • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
      • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
    • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
    • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
    • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
    • If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
    • Throw used tissues in the trash.
    • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect.
    • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
    • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

According to CDC, the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms. Maintaining good social distance (about 6 feet) is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people. Information from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggest that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious.

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
According to the CDC, if you have a fever or cough, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
  • Keep track of your symptoms.

If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community:

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Separate yourself from other people and pets in your home.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
  • If you are sick, wear a cloth covering over your nose and mouth.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day.

For any additional questions about your care, contact your healthcare provider or state or local health department.

Community mitigation activities are actions that people and communities can take to slow the spread of infectious diseases. Community mitigation is especially important before a vaccine or drug becomes widely available. Individuals, communities, schools, business and health care organizations all have a role to play in community mitigation, and policies, like limits on large gatherings, restrictions on businesses, and school closures, are often needed in order to fully implement community mitigation strategies. The latest guidance on recommended preparations for these and other entities can be found here.


Contacting Senator Van Hollen's Office
In order to follow the guidance of public health officials and ensure the safety of constituents and staff due to COVID-19, the majority of Senator Van Hollen’s staff will be teleworking until further notice. As a result, our offices will be closed to the public, but all phone lines will remain fully open and fully staffed. Constituents seeking assistance can reach our constituent services teams at: (301) 545-1500. Those with general questions or concerns about federal policy can reach our Capitol Hill team at: (202) 224-4654. Urgent issues for my office can be emailed to assistance@vanhollen.senate.gov. We urge all constituents to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Maryland Department of Health guidelines to protect themselves and their families and we look forward to serving you in person at our offices soon.
The Latest from Senator Van Hollen