Trump names Blackburn, Alexander to advisory groups to reopen economy

Donald Trump, Mike Pence
Posted at 1:38 PM, Apr 16, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — President Donald Trump has named U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn to his advisory groups to reopen the economy.

In a release, Sen. Blackburn’s office said she had been appointed to his congressional task force to provide counsel on the “re-opening of America in the wake of COVID-19.”

Sen. Blackburn released the following statement:

“Since the day COVID-19 reached our shores, President Trump’s resolve to defeat it has not wavered. His Administration has worked day and night to identify the most effective ways to keep the American people safe, from supplying health care workers with needed equipment to aiding small business owners through a volatile economic period.

“These efforts must be complimented by legislative action that will move us through and out of this pandemic. Last month, I introduced bipartisan legislation to bring critical elements of our drug supply chain back to the United States. When it became clear that our health care facilities would require as much space as possible to treat COVID-19, I urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to eliminate regulations and enable the widespread use of telemedicine for routine care. This week, I asked Secretary Esper to identify ways to help servicemembers who may be struggling with their mental health during social distancing.

“This pandemic is affecting Americans of all backgrounds, in every sector, and figuring out how we re-open our country requires a targeted approach. I am grateful that President Trump has selected me to join that effort, and look forward to working with my colleagues to come up with a solution that serves the American people.”

Sen. Alexander’s office confirmed he had been named to the president’s Economic Recovery Initiative. He released a statement, saying:

“The way to contain this disease and get back to work and back to school is to put politics aside and work together as fast as we can on new tests, new treatments, and new vaccines. Everyone I know wants this to happen as quickly as we responsibly can, and I welcome the opportunity to help in this way.”

The Department of Labor announced Thursday that 5.2 million people filed initial unemployment claims in the last week. In the last four weeks, 22 million people have filed claims.


See all our coronavirus coverage here


What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.