Rep. Roger Marshall: Coronavirus threat underscores need for border security

March 3, 2020

Originally published by the Wichita Eagle

The spread of the coronavirus and its dominance in the news has been top of mind for many Kansans. While there is no reason to panic yet, it is prudent for all of us to be mindful of the ongoing situation. As a physician and Congressman, I feel it’s important I convey steps the federal government is currently taking to best respond.

First and foremost, we must demand more transparency from the Chinese government. American experts must be allowed to get access to information on the ground in China, particularly in Wuhan — ground zero of this outbreak. China has a long history of misinformation and cover-ups, and we need to know the full truth.

Some in the American medical industry are concerned about a shortage of supplies, which are largely manufactured in China. The FDA is not aware of any national shortages of medical products. Federal agencies have been proactively reaching out to hundreds of manufacturers to assess potential shortages and to let manufacturers know they can provide assistance.

President Trump is doing everything in his power to protect Americans. Consulting with top medical experts, this administration is prepared to swiftly mitigate an outbreak of coronavirus here at home. Attempts by the national media and Democrats in Congress to place blame on the president for the outbreak are laughable. Anything President Trump can possibly do to expedite the development of testing, antivirals and vaccines is already being done. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services have been preparing for outbreaks like this for years.

On the eve of a potentially global pandemic, this situation underscores how imperative it is for our country to be able to prevent unidentified individuals from entering the country. Border security is national security, and families in Kansas deserve a home safe from unvetted individuals who may knowingly or unknowingly be carrying contagious diseases.

Federal government experts believe we are weeks away from a test kit that can be used at hospitals and even airports. Thankfully, America has the most innovative medical landscape anywhere on earth. That’s why the world looks to the U.S. to lead in product development.

I contacted the CDC over five weeks ago asking what preventative measures they were taking when this virus was in the early stages of outbreak, and I have been staying in constant contact with the White House and all agencies responsible for controlling the spread of this disease. The safety of Kansans is my top priority, and I will continue to monitor developments closely and communicate with officials across our state. In the meantime, I recommend regular hand washing, applying hand sanitizer, proper nutrition, and minimal travel outside your community.

This event also underscores what an absolute disaster a government takeover of our medical system would be. America’s health care capabilities are second to none because of competition and free market innovation. Radical socialist policies would effectively eliminate private investment in new medicines and technologies. That would be unacceptable.

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