Self-isolation hasn’t stopped Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) from reaching out to his constituents as the congressman has started hosting a series of telephone town halls centered around the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
So far, Schiff has hosted two town halls, the first on March 19. He said during the call on Thursday he intends to host more in the future to hear directly from people about their concerns regarding the virus and its impact on their day-to-day lives.
“This crisis has been a tremendous shock to the country, and we’ve been prepared to have a life quite different than the one we’re experiencing at the moment,” he said. “Our response is going to have to be fast to this crisis, and we must put workers and families first.”
Schiff pointed to the $2-trillion economic relief package that President Donald Trump signed into law on Friday as an imperfect but necessary first step in providing help.
The package will provide a one-time $1,200 payout to most adults in the country while also including about $350 billion in grants and zero-interest loans to small businesses and approximately $130 billion for hospitals.
Schiff highlighted how the bill includes an expansion of unemployment insurance and benefits that will help cover people who are contractors and freelancers.
During the call, Schiff said he doesn’t expect this to be the only bill Congress will pass in response to the novel coronavirus, adding that he and his colleagues have “begun work on the next package, and we have our work cut out for us.”
He added, “We’re going to keep working at this until we get it right and no one gets left behind. We’re going to get through this together.”
The town halls have featured medical professionals who provided their expertise on the pandemic. The most recent call featured Dr. Rekha Murthy from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Dr. Muntu Davis from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The two advocated for people to continue to physically distance themselves from one another and avoid groups in order to slow the spread of the virus.
Currently, there is no vaccine or direct treatment for the virus that causes COVID-19.
“We need everybody’s help, and the key goal is to prevent spread. This is the only weapon we have at this time,” Murthy said.
While the next telephone town hall hasn’t been scheduled, people who want to participate can follow Schiff’s social media pages for any announcements.
This piece was originally published in the Burbank Leader.