March 12, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) released the following statement in response to the Governor’s announcement that Maine has its first presumptive positive test for novel coronavirus disease, or COVID-19:
“Today’s news of Maine’s first presumptive positive COVID-19 diagnosis is both concerning and expected. Given the spread of the disease and its presence in other New England states, it was always likely that the disease would impact Maine people. With this in mind, the State of Maine, led by the Governor and the Maine CDC, has been working for the last several months to prepare to diagnose, treat, and contain COVID-19. The measures announced by Governor Mills today – including recommending postponing large events and cancelling non-essential out-of-state travel by state employees – are smart, prudent approaches to get ahead of this disease.
“The arrival of COVID-19 underscores the need for Maine people to take common sense steps to protect themselves and reduce any possible community spread. Please, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, practice social distancing by avoiding large crowds, and stay home if you’re sick. If you are concerned you may have COVID-19, reach out to your physician, or call the Maine coronavirus hotline at 2-1-1.
“This situation is unprecedented, at least in recent memory – but we can always find lessons in history. When the Spanish Flu struck in 1918, cities across America took different approaches to combat this disease. St. Louis acted decisively, canceling a pre-planned parade, while Philadelphia allowed its parade to continue. In the following month, Philadelphia saw more than 10,000 deaths from the Spanish Flu; St. Louis, only 700. In hindsight, the decision seems obvious – and I am hopeful that hindsight will look kindly on the decisive action taken by Maine today.”