Sen. Cruz in Houston Chronicle: Together, We Can Fight this Pandemic, and We Will Ultimately Defeat It
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In his new op-ed in the Houston Chronicle, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) offers an inside-look into his 10-day self-quarantine, the steps he took out of an abundance of caution to protect the health and welfare of his family, constituents, staff, and colleagues in Congress, and his efforts to coordinate a national response to COVID-19 from home.
In the op-ed, he wrote:
"While at home, I've been working hard to coordinate our national response efforts with the administration, Congress, state and local officials, and business leaders. Our central mission needs to be doing everything possible to stop this global pandemic. [...]
"Congress has already passed $8.2 billion in bipartisan emergency appropriations for fighting this outbreak. But, as I head back to Washington today after spending nine days in self-quarantine, I will be also focused as well on commonsense, targeted proposals to provide real relief from the economic impacts of this outbreak."
"Going forward, we need to work quickly and be guided by the facts and medical science - not panic, hysteria, or partisan games. Too many Texans' lives and livelihoods are on the line. [...]
"Texas is strong. Our nation is strong. Together, we can fight this pandemic, and we will ultimately defeat it."
Read the full op-ed here and below and more about the four immediate, concrete steps Sen. Cruz has urged the administration to take to detect, treat, and prevent the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19 here.
While in self-quarantine, Sen. Cruz has called into several local TV stations. Watch and read those interviews below:
Ted Cruz reflects on 10 days of self-quarantine
March 18, 2020
By: Sen. Cruz
On March 8, I received an unexpected call that I had been exposed to the coronavirus. Nine days earlier, at a conference in Washington, I had shaken hands with a person who was now sick and had just tested positive for COVID-19. Several questions rushed to my mind as I held the phone up to my ear: Could I have the virus? Is my family okay? And could I have - God forbid - unintentionally transmitted the virus to others?
Fortunately, I was able to quickly get on the phone with medical professionals at the Houston Health Department, the Harris County Public Health Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services and my personal physician. They all assured me that the odds of transmission were low, and that - because the interaction was brief and I had been asymptomatic for nine days - I didn't meet the CDC criteria for self-quarantine.
Nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution, I made the decision to stay at my home in Texas and self-quarantine until March 12, allowing a full 14 days to pass since the interaction.
A few days later, after reports came out that an aide from another Senate office had tested positive for COVID-19, I made the decision to temporarily close my Washington, D.C. office and, shortly thereafter, my state offices as well. My Senate staff is now all working from home. Thankfully, our office had established a working group to prepare for a scenario just like this, and we were fully equipped to work remotely.
Hours after my initial self-quarantine came to a close, I learned of a second interaction I had with yet another individual, a Spanish government official, who had just tested positive for COVID-19, and so I decided to extend my self-quarantine to allow a full 14 days to pass before returning to Washington, D.C.
As a practical matter, self-quarantine didn't just mean working remotely on my laptop; it also meant staying at least 6 feet away from Heidi and my daughters. It meant family dinners where I sat at the kitchen counter while the girls sat at the dining room table. It meant no movie theaters, no basketball games and no restaurants. It meant not shopping for groceries at the supermarket. It meant Heidi's sleeping in the girls' rooms, which was lonely, and not kissing my girls good night each evening, saying prayers from across the room. I attended virtual church on Sunday on the internet in our living room.
It also meant not seeing my parents who are in their 80s and therefore in the population most at risk of contracting this virus.
As uncomfortable as some of these steps were to take, they were also no-brainers, because we know that social distancing is one of the best tools we have to combat this virus. That's why we have seen and will continue to see more Americans make the same decision I made to stay home and why so many places of work and worship are taking commonsense steps to protect their employees, their congregations and their customers.
It's also important for all of us to practice basic hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water and wash them often. Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue. Seniors should stay home, and all of us should avoid large gatherings. And most importantly, if you feel sick, stay home and call your medical provider.
While at home, I've been working hard to coordinate our national response efforts with the administration, Congress, state and local officials, and business leaders. Our central mission needs to be doing everything possible to stop this global pandemic.
Specifically, I've called on federal officials to focus on four concrete priorities:
- Making testing more accurate and widely available.
- Ensuring we have enough of the essential medical supplies for first responders and health care professionals,
- Creating more capacity and providing critical resources for hospitals and medical facilities.
- Working quickly to develop and approve vaccines and cures.
I've laid out specific steps to accomplish each of these objectives.
Congress has already passed $8.2 billion in bipartisan emergency appropriations for fighting this outbreak. But, as I head back to Washington today after spending nine days in self-quarantine, I will be also focused as well on commonsense, targeted proposals to provide real relief from the economic impacts of this outbreak.
We shouldn't pass bailouts for special interests or lobbyists; instead, we should focus on generally applicable economic policy and tax relief that will benefit everyone impacted by the economic devastation of the new coronavirus.
There is a vital role for the federal government to act in times of emergency and crisis. The men and women of the Texas Gulf Coast know that better than anyone, as we continue to rebuild from Hurricane Harvey.
By taking every precaution necessary to keep ourselves, our families and friends healthy, we can flatten the curve and reduce the spread of this virus.
Texas is strong. Our nation is strong. Together, we can fight this pandemic, and we will ultimately defeat it.
For more information and additional resources, visit www.cruz.senate.gov/coronavirus/.