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Wisconsin to get at least $10 million to help fight coronavirus

Posted at 8:57 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 10:13:35-05

Wisconsin will get at least $10 million to help with coronavirus testing and public health response efforts.

That money is part of an $8 billion emergency coronavirus package approved today by the U.S. Senate.

"I'm just making sure that we need to be realistic in terms of what we can expect any government or any doctor or any agency that can actually deal with a complete deal with a new virus," said U.S Senator Ron Johnson.

He credits the Trump Administration and government agencies for responding as rapidly as possible but says a vaccine will take time.

"Effective vaccines to the public is probably at least a year to 18 months away, so probably not even available for next season, so we need to mitigate the spread right now," said Johnson.

According to an online poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, the Republican half of the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, only 49% of voters say the United States is prepared for an outbreak.

TMJ4's Charles Benson interviewed Senator Johnson about the federal government's response.

Benson: When you look at the run on masks, there's no vaccine, and the slow rollout for coronavirus test kits: How can you be confident the country is prepared?
Sen. Johnson: "Well first of all of all, I don't think anybody can be fully prepared for a completely new virus. So no, you are not going to have a test kit because it's a new virus, just known to mankind in the last three months. You have to develop the tests for doing it. You have to test the tests. You have to make sure the labs are capable of properly running the tests. So that does take some time, but we are doing that in weeks and in some cases months, but we are rapidly responding to this."

U.S Senator Tammy Baldwin also called on the federal government to partner with state and local health officials. "We must work together to keep families in Wisconsin and across the country safe, and today I voted for emergency funding that will help us do that."

Nearly $1 billion will go to state, local, and tribal governments for testing and public health response efforts—another $3 billion for research.

"In order to effectively combat the novel coronavirus, we must make sure state and local officials have the resources they need to address this public health crisis," said Baldwin.

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