4-7-2020 Coronavirus Update
Latest Coronavirus Update from Congressman Jeff Duncan:
We are starting to see positive trends that social distancing measures are working – let’s keep it up! My prayer is that the directives put in place will be effective in flattening the curve so our nation can get back to work. The United States has never experienced a challenge we haven’t conquered, and the coronavirus is no exception. Let’s all do our part of social distancing, hand washing, and following local, state, and federal guidelines to stay healthy, stop the spread, and get back on track as quickly as possible.
China’s Communist Party & Dishonesty on COVID-19
We know the novel COVID-19 coronavirus came from Wuhan, China, and we know that ever since it emerged, the Chinese government has been anything but truthful about it. If anyone believes the “information” coming out of their government, they haven’t been paying attention to their long history of misinformation campaigns. Their despicable blame on the U.S. military for the virus is a prime example of this dishonest behavior.
I have joined House Resolution 907 to condemn China’s actions related to the COVID-19 crisis, its censorship of medical professionals at the outset of the virus, and its denial of person-to-personal transmissibility of the virus. You can read the full resolution HERE. You can also read more about the resolution HERE in The Hill. It’s time we demand accountability and the TRUTH.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the recommendation for voluntary face cloths: “CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States. We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”
Important note on this recommendation: these cloth coverings can be items you already own like a bandana, t-shirt, or another cloth. The recommendation is NOT to use surgical masks or other medical protective equipment as those must be reserved for our health care system. Read the CDC’s FAQ page on this voluntary recommendation HERE.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
PPP is LIVE for small businesses and sole proprietorships (applications for independent contractors and self-employed individuals open on April 10, 2020). Since the launch last week, tens of thousands have applied for more than $40 billion in relief funds by around 3,000 lenders across the country. If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to speak with your lender about the program and how it could benefit your small business. While I understand there have been issues and glitches during the initial roll-out, I believe those will be smoothed over the longer we go forward in the implementation phase. I’ve been receiving feedback that every single day, more and more community banks are able to get the program up and running which enables more small businesses to gain access to the program.
About the program from the U.S. Treasury Department: The PPP provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees. Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease. Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees—including nonprofits, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors— are eligible. Businesses with more than 500 employees are eligible in certain industries.
On the Treasury’s website, you will find an overview of the program, information for lenders and borrowers, the borrower application, the lender electronic data form, and the interim final rule for the program. Visit the website HERE for this information.
Economic Impact Payments
Did you see the announcement for Social Security recipients? Since many don’t file a tax return, they don’t need to take any action to receive their economic impact payments. Read more HERE and make sure your loved ones have this information.
Have general questions on the economic impact statements? Read more HERE.
Governor Henry McMaster issued a “Home or Work” order which goes into effect on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 5:00pm. Please read the executive order HERE and the extended list of non-essential business closures HERE.
The South Carolina Department of Commerce put together helpful information for businesses with resources on financial assistance, insurance, regulatory and tax support, employment, and health and safety. You can find these resources HERE.
To see the latest data and information on COVID-19 in South Carolina, visit the DHEC website HERE. And remember – should you have any questions, please call the DHEC care line at 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
Third Congressional District
Local chambers are compiling useful information for communities in the Third Congressional District during this coronavirus outbreak including the latest news from state and local entities and lists of restaurants and retail that are still open. This is a great way to stay connected to these local spots and help small businesses through this difficult time. I’ll continue sending out information from these communities and others as it comes in.
On my website, you will find community assistance links by county with important local resources in your area. Please find that information HERE. You can also dial “211” to connect with the United Way or visit their site HERE for information on food, shelter, utilities, or other assistance one may need during this pandemic.
The Blood Connection is looking for plasma donations from folks who have recovered from COVID-19 for their new Convalescent Plasma program. In the search for answers and cures for the virus, the plasma from a coronavirus positive patient may help others that are sick. If you know someone who is interested in donating, you can read about the program HERE or visit one of their sites in Anderson, Easley, Greenville, Greenwood, or Seneca.
The Anderson District 1 & 2 Career and Technology Center created a new mask prototype using 3D printing! They are doing great things for our health care sector. Read more HERE.
Harbor Freight delivered a generous donation of personal protective equipment to AnMed Health to help the Anderson community. Read more HERE.
I will continue to keep you updated. Please follow me on social media for the latest news and updates around the clock.