Coronavirus has officially reached the highest levels of the U.S. government. Florida representative Mario Diaz-Balart has tested positive for coronavirus. As CNN reports, Diaz-Balart is the first member of Congress to test positive. On Wednesday, he tweeted that he was "feeling much better"
I'm feeling much better. However, it's important that everyone take this seriously and follow @CDCgov guidelines in order to avoid getting sick & mitigate the spread of this virus. We must continue to work together to emerge stronger as a country during these trying times. pic.twitter.com/g5W5vSQIyH— Mario Diaz-Balart (@MarioDB) March 18, 2020
The news comes as a number of congressional leaders have taken to self-quarantine. Some of that reaction may have come from reports that the press secretary to Brazilian President Jai Bolsonaro had tested positive for the disease, just days after spending a weekend with President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. After some initial confusion on the matter, the White House physician tweeted on Saturday that Trump had indeed tested negative for the virus. The day prior, Trump had declared a national emergency over the growing pandemic.
"To unleash the full power of the federal government in this effort today, I am officially declaring a national emergency," Trump said at the time. "Two very big words. The action I am taking will open up access to $50 billion... for states and territories and localities in our shared fight against this disease."
On Tuesday, Trump held another press conference to discuss the ever-changing circumstances resulting from coronavirus and the resulting concerns, where he recommended that Americans should avoid gatherings of 10 people or more and that older people should stay home and avoid others. While the president's comments were not a direct mandate, they do echo what a number of state and local governments have already done, which is ordering many public-facing businesses to close down temporarily, including bars, restaurants, nightclubs and movie theaters.
It's also recommended that people across the U.S. try to isolate themselves as much as possible and engage in social distancing when out in public. Quite a few celebrities have eagerly jumped on the bandwagon, encouraging their fans and followers to do the same, as it can greatly help slow the spread of coronavirus.
According to the CDC's latest numbers, which were updated Wednesday, there are just over 7,000 reported cases of coronavirus in the U.S. currently, with 97 total reported deaths.