May 7, 2020 - Issue: Vol. 166, No. 86 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 2nd Session
CORONAVIRUS; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 86
(Senate - May 07, 2020)
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[Pages S2313-S2314] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] CORONAVIRUS Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I rise today to highlight the heroes of my home State of Maryland who are working on the frontlines to fight COVID-19. On January 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States. Since then, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States has ballooned to over 1.2 million cases and over 72,000 Americans have died. The CDC has designated the Baltimore-Washington corridor as a hotspot, as cases continue to rise in the region. As of May 6, there have been 28,163 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,290 confirmed deaths in the State of Maryland. These are trying, unprecedented times for all communities in America, and Maryland is no different in this regard. Fred Rogers once said that in times of crisis, times like these, we should ``look for the helpers.'' I would like to take this time to recognize some of the heroes who are helping communities in Maryland. I am very proud of our State's hospitals, distilleries, manufacturers, and biomedical and pharmaceutical companies that have come together to perform their own testing, manufactured personal protective equipment and hand sanitizers, and are at the forefront of developing a vaccine. Maryland is home to some of the world's premier academic medical systems, including the University of Maryland Medical System and Johns Hopkins University, which have been critical in preparing our State for the pandemic. I am particularly proud of Johns Hopkins' coronavirus tracking system, which public health officials worldwide have come to rely on for up-to-date, accurate information. I applaud Johns [[Page S2314]] Hopkins officials and staff creating the vital public health tool, which has already proven itself critical to fighting this disease. Lord Kelvin stated so long ago: When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind. In the early days of the pandemic in Maryland, our State officials, like officials in most States, were desperately searching for ways to increase testing capacity. Johns Hopkins developed its own coronavirus test to help meet demand. The university has been especially helpful in Maryland's effort to combat the virus in nursing homes. Johns Hopkins has closely collaborated with local nursing homes to train their employees and test residents to protect our most vulnerable populations. I commend Johns Hopkins' ingenuity, which has been critical to efforts to identify those afflicted with COVID-19 and to prevent the spread of the virus. The University of Maryland Medical System has stepped up to lead efforts to address the devastating impact of COVID-19 in our State's minority communities, which is likely due to the underlying healthcare disparities. The university has assembled a team of public health experts to execute the proposed Maryland Health Equity COVID-19 Consortium. The consortium will be critical to the developing of strategies that inform our State's response efforts to protect our communities of color, who are more susceptible to COVID-19. Despite the immense burden Maryland's small businesses are facing, they have stepped up to help local hospitals, nursing homes, and other frontline workers. Sagamore Spirits Distillery in Baltimore is one such small business. Sagamore has completely converted its operation to distill corn ethanol to produce hand sanitizers. The distillery is sourcing its corn from Maryland farmers. Hardwire, an armor company on the Eastern Shore in Pocomoke City, now produces sustainable face shields that can last up to 6 months. By the end of this week, Hardwire will have shipped out 1 million face shields to healthcare workers, first responders, and others on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19. The demand for Hardwire's face shield is so great that it has hired 115 new employees, providing much needed economic relief to communities on the Eastern Shore. In addition, Maryland's world-leading biomedical and pharmaceutical companies are working tirelessly to find a vaccine for COVID-19. AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical and life sciences company with research and development facilities in Gaithersburg and Frederick, has partnered with the University of Oxford on a potential vaccine that has already entered phase 1 clinical trials. Emergent BioSolutions in Rockville is collaborating with Johnson & Johnson on its lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Emergent BioSolutions will be providing contract development and manufacturing services in Maryland to support Johnson & Johnson's recently announced commitment to supply 1 billion vaccines worldwide. I would be remiss if I did not also thank Maryland's frontline healthcare workers who risk their lives every day to care for those with COVID-19. These physicians, physician assistants, nurses, lab technicians, EMT personnel, and many others go to work day after day facing the unimaginable strain of caring for patients who are fighting this deadly virus and comforting their families. These examples are by no means exhaustive. There are countless other healthcare providers, law enforcement agencies, nonprofits, small businesses, higher education institutions, and individual Marylanders pitching in to defeat COVID-19. Marylanders are stocking grocery shelves, driving buses, delivering groceries to elderly neighbors, hosting virtual events to keep families and young children entertained as they continue to practice social distancing, and they are making homemade face coverings for those who need them. I have seen my neighbors come together to make lunch packs for families in need. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, ``Everybody can be great because anybody can serve.'' The COVID-19 pandemic is not testing our character; it is revealing it. I am so proud to represent all the great Marylanders who are serving on the frontlines, and I will continue working as hard as I can to ensure that we in Congress are doing everything we can to support them as they lead the fight against COVID-19 I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana. ____________________