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Coronavirus update: May 14, 2020

Washington, May 14, 2020
Here is an update for May 14th. 
 
Thought of the day: “The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
 
Last night we hosted a telephone town hall with Michele Evermore, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst at National Employment Law Project and Dr. Anurag Malani, Medical Director for Infection Prevention and the Antimicrobial Stewardship program at St. Joseph Mercy Health system. People asked a lot of questions on unemployment, stimulus checks, and when will businesses reopen. People also asked real questions about their health and how they can keep their families safe during the pandemic. We were also asked if and when there’ll be a vaccine and if testing will ramp up. 

The best way for you to do your part to defeat this virus is to stay home and practice physical distancing. Only go out if you need to for essential goods. This is how you can keep you and your family safe. The state of Michigan has put together FAQs that are very helpful and can help guide you in decision making. Remember, we all have to do our part. 

If you need to file for unemployment, you can visit here and also reach out to my office at 313-278-2936 if you need any additional assistance. We have to look out for our friends, family, and colleagues who lost their jobs because of no fault of their own. The new numbers of unemployment are still concerning and shows the many impacts this virus has. Looking out for those who need our help must remain one of our top priorities.

As of Early May, the IRS has said they mailed around 20 million stimulus checks and millions have also received direct deposit. The IRS will continue to send on average 5 million paper checks per week.

Testing capacity continues to ramp up, with the non-partisan organization the COVID Tracking Projectreporting over 308,000 tests have been conducted in Michigan. But we’re still not where we need to be yet. Earlier this week Michigan received $315,183,795 to increase testing capacity and the Heroes Act introduced by House Democrats would make even more resources available to increase capacity. We have to continue to increase our capacity for both testing and tracing. That is what scientists say will allow us to defeat this virus and remains an issue we all are working to address. 

With questions still continuing on Governor Whitmer's stay at home order and what businesses are allowed to open up, I wanted to make sure people are aware of what’s allowed and what’s not allowed. The order is still in place until May 28th. Some factories and plants have begun to reopen with strict worker safety guidance. We will continue to track the efficiency of these guidelines. They help us answer questions on what our new reality may or may not look like. Visit here to make sure you’re aware of all details in the extended stay home order. 
 
Today I’m back in Washington for a hearing on Federal efforts to improve upon and further protect scientific integrity. We will be hearing from Dr. Rick Bright. His name might sound familiar. He was a government virologist who made repeated efforts to warn officials a pandemic was coming and what needed to be done to protect American people from coronavirus. He was pressured by health officials to rush malaria drugs that are unproven to treat COVID-19 and his warnings about mask shortages were ignored. Science must be what drives us forward. If you’d like to watch the hearing live, you can follow along here. It began at 10:00am.
 
Six hospitals in Michigan’s 12th Congressional District received $159 million in grants from the CARES Act passed by Congress in March. The money will be used to support hospitals and health systems on the frontlines. We will not stop working until all hospitals in Michigan have the resources they need. More details on which hospitals received money can be found here.

The University of Michigan received more than $1 million in funding to support rapid response research on coronavirus. The funding is part of the CARES Act passed by Congress in March. Science and research are incredibly important at this time and will empower us to defeat this virus. We must always support science and it is great to see the University of Michigan is being entrusted to help lead these efforts.

Team Dingell is here seven days a week and wants to listen and help. It isn’t as smooth as we want on some issues, but we will never stop fighting for you. Call our office at 313-278-2936 or contact us through Facebook or our webpage.
 
New information becomes available every day. Below is a list of resources and information that can be helpful during this time. Please share this information with your family, friends, and colleagues. Remember, stay home, stay safe, save lives.

Coronavirus information

File for unemployment

Small Businesses can apply for low-interest disaster loans

Navigating Social Security Benefits
 
School Based Food Service Interactive Map
 
Food Banks and Kitchens in Michigan's 12th Congressional District
 
Contact numbers for people looking for information are:
• Centers for Disease Control, cdc.gov/coronavirus, 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).
Michigan.gov/coronavirus, or 888-535-6136.
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