VIDEO: Portman Addresses Threat of Coronavirus

March 12, 2020 | Portman Difference

Today, Senator Portman released a video addressing the threat of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and steps that Congress and the administration are taking to ensure Ohioans and the rest of the country have the resources they need to stay safe during this uncertain time. Portman also shares a few steps all Ohioans can take to minimize the risk of catching or spreading this coronavirus.

Last week, Portman applauded the passage of the Senate passage of the $8.3 billion funding measure to help prevent, prepare, and respond to the domestic spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Portman will continue to work with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find a bipartisan agreement to provide economic relief and support to all the individuals, families, and small businesses impacted by the threat of coronavirus. 

For more information, the Ohio Department of Health has opened a call center to answer questions regarding coronavirus which will be open 7 days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634). Resources and up-to-date information can also be found on the Ohio Department of Health’s website:

A transcript can be found below and the video can be viewed here.

“Hi, I’m U.S. Senator Rob Portman, and I’d like to briefly talk to you about the coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19.

“Let me tell you what we do know about this outbreak. We know it started in China and it hit that country hard. Other countries that have been hit particularly hard are South Korea, Japan, Iran, and Italy, so it’s is a worldwide threat. Here in the United States, we’ve seen outbreaks too in a number of states, including here in Ohio, where we now have some confirmed cases. It’s a serious issue.

“I’m working closely with the governor’s office and the Ohio Department of Health to ensure that all Ohioans are getting the resources and care they need and to help keep the virus from spreading any further.  

“At the federal level, I think we’re fortunate to have a task-force headed by the Vice President of the United States who can work across all the agencies to lead an all of government effort. There’s also a coordinator for this effort, Dr. Birx who, as the leader in the U.S. international response to HIV, has a lot of experience in responding to global health threats, is a real professional.  

“Congress, as you may know, has acted already. We recently voted to spend $8.3 billion in federal funding to combat the virus. I have strongly supported that funding because I think it’s necessary. Ohio will receive some of those resources to bolster our immediate public health response to it, and Ohio needs the help.

“These funds are also going to be used to support the development of a vaccine. That will be a while, but in the meantime, to help with regard to antiviral therapies, something like what you have with the common flu, Tamiflu, to be able to help people who do contract the disease. But also to support the needs of our health providers in Ohio and around the country. Think about the hospitals and the clinics and so on that are getting a lot of patients if this continues to grow.

“However, there are steps we can all take to minimize the risk of catching or spreading this coronavirus. So, continue to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer if you don’t have a sink, avoid touching your face, don’t travel if you’re a high-risk individual and don’t otherwise have to. Avoid large crowds, any place where you can be in close proximity with other people. As folks are saying and as the medical professionals are saying, keep some social distance as you’re out and about. And if you’re feeling sick, let a medical professional know.  Most people who get the coronavirus are going to have flu-like symptoms, so a cough, a sore throat. And, by the way, the vast majority of those people will make a full recovery, but older Americans and those with underlying health conditions should be extremely cautious because that’s the group that seems to be the most vulnerable.

“So, today we can all do our part to make sure our communities stay safe during this uncertain time. I’m going to continue to work in partnership with my Republicans, Democrats, everybody as Americans, with our governor, with our state and local health officials to ensure that we have the resources in Ohio to be able to respond to this threat of the coronavirus.

“If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact us through our website at or toll-free at 1-800-205-6446. Thanks for listening and be safe.”