WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) released the following statement today following reports that the United States surpassed 200,000 coronavirus deaths:
"More than 200,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19. We grieve with their families, and we are outraged because it did not have to be this way. I strongly disagree with President Trump’s assertion that, ‘It is what it is.’ According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 79% of U.S. COVID-19 deaths have been seniors over the age of sixty-five. Communities of color continue to be ravaged by this disease at higher rates than the general population. At the same time, millions of Americans are still waiting to get back to work as a result of the pandemic. None of this had to be this way.
"An audio recording shows that on February 7 President Trump understood how deadly and infectious COVID-19 is but he continued to downplay the virus for weeks as it spread through American communities, nursing homes, and schools. President Trump pressured Republican governors and mayors to ease safety measures prematurely, leading to the deadly spike that continues to take hundreds of lives every day. We can only speculate how many fewer Americans would have died had President Trump chosen not to downplay the threat from this virus from the very start, hinder efforts to procure adequate testing and personal protective equipment, or spread misinformation about treatments and politicize mask-wearing.
"Throughout this crisis, House Democrats have worked to save lives and protect working Americans from the pandemic’s economic impacts. We moved swiftly to ensure that COVID-19 tests would incur no out-of-pocket costs for Americans, to guarantee paid time off for those who contract the disease, and to invest in research for treatments and vaccines. We passed the CARES Act to provide direct payments to American households, create the Paycheck Protection Program, and ensure an additional $600 a week to those who lost their jobs. It has now been more than four months since the Democratic-led House passed the Heroes Act to extend those extra unemployment benefits, provide additional direct payments to Americans, and help state and local governments keep teachers and first responders on payroll. However, the Republican Senate and President Trump have blocked it from becoming law and helping millions of Americans weather this crisis. COVID-19 deaths today are more-than double what they were on May 15 when the Heroes Act passed the House.
"The House will continue to do its part to meet the challenge of COVID-19. It is time for President Trump to take responsibility for his failure to do the same.”