WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) has introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at increasing preparedness for future waves of COVID-19. The bills seek to help states implement early warning systems to detect growing cases of COVID-19, and also creates an online clearinghouse to help frontline and essential workers get Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
“We’ve seen the consequences of not being adequately prepared for this pandemic, and we must learn from them as we prepare for future waves,” said Rep. Kim. “I’m proud to introduce these bills with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle. Smart, public health solutions aren’t partisan, they’re simply common-sense. I look forward to bringing these bills through Congress and taking the steps necessary to keep our families and communities safe and healthy during these tough times.”
The first bill, the Coronavirus Community Readiness Act, is a bipartisan effort with Congressman Gus Bilirakus (FL-12), which would award grants to states and localities to implement early warning systems like wastewater testing and temperature tracking for COVID-19 and other diseases. Research institutions would also be eligible for the grants to continue studying early warning detection methods.
The second bill, the Protecting Essential Workers Act, was introduced with Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10), and would develop an online clearinghouse, in which manufacturers and their PPE products would be vetted to ensure quality in a rigorous, systematic manner. The internet clearinghouse would publish available products with their corresponding prices to mitigate price gouging, ensure quick access to health care providers, essential workers, and governments, and increase transparency in supply.
The two bills are based on findings in Rep. Kim’s “The Way Forward: Preparing America for a Second Wave” report. Rep. Kim, who is a member of the bipartisan House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, discussed the report and second wave preparedness during a telephone town hall he held earlier this month.