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@MyKitchenTable - July 9, 2020

@MyKitchenTable: Thursday, July 9, 2020

Dear Friend:

Helen Keller said, “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows."

The CDC, NIH, FDA and other partners are conducting a nationwide COVID-19 seroprevalence survey in 25 U.S. metro areas to understand the percentage of folks who may have been infected with SARS-CoV-2. This is the largest such study to date and collaborating organizations will collect and test 1,000 anonymous blood donation samples from each of the 25 sites for a year for a total of 325K tested overall, which you can read more about HERE.

The DOD gave a number of collaborators $34.6M to establish plasma collection capabilities at Mount Sinai. Plasma from recovered donors will support the development and manufacturing of COVID-HIG for evaluation in clinical trials and for potential emergency use or broader patient use as allowed by the FDA, which you can see HERE.

My Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce held a virtual hearing today on “Consumers Beware: Increased Risks during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” We heard from the Director of Consumer Protection from the National Consumers League and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The FTC has posted warnings about many Coronavirus-related scams, including contact tracing scams, scams related to small business loans (PPP), and fake charities. Some unscrupulous sellers are capitalizing on the COVD-19 pandemic by selling cleaning products, PPE, and other necessities at exorbitant prices. Hand sanitizer and face masks costs rose by at least 50% on Amazon. HR 6472 was introduced by the Chairman, which would prohibit the sale of consumer goods and services at unconscionably excessive prices during a public health emergency. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has established a Home Safety Information Center HERE.

On Friday I will be participating in the funeral service of Bud Baker, the first known Berrien County resident to die from COVID in March. He had been considered for the Medal of Honor due to his heroics in Vietnam when in 1968 as a rifleman on a reconnaissance-in-force mission encountered a battalion of North Vietnamese Regulars and was pinned down by intense enemy automatic weapons and rocket fire.  Moving through a hail of bullets, he silenced one emplacement, was wounded in the leg and back by a sniper and then assaulted and eliminated another machine gun position and did receive the Distinguished Service Cross. He left a dear wife and a good number of grandchildren and was very active in the Lest We Forget Berrien County organization. His picture has been on my desk for years and he was about as genuine and as nice an individual as one could ever find. General George Patton said, “Always do more than is required by you... Now, if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do.” Bud finished his days as a guest Chaplain at Spectrum/Lakeland comforting all those that came its way. Rest in Peace, my friend. We salute your service.

I have indicated that I am part of a bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus task force on police reform after legislation passed the House two weeks ago. Our first formal zoom meeting was this afternoon as we try to put together a bipartisan proposal that can emerge from the Congress that the president can enact. I am hopeful and encouraged that we can come together, resolve some of the difficult issues, and move the country in the right direction. Our goal would be to conclude the legislative activity and not get mired in politics before the month is out. For me, one of my top priorities from the start is to resolve the Qualified Immunity provisions so that they will not weaken the ability to retain or recruit law enforcement officers. We need better training and equipment (like bodycams) and proper accountability. I will keep you posted on the progress.  

This morning I interviewed with The Hill as part of their Future of Health Care Summit. We discussed several issues including COVID-19 vaccine development, the need for bipartisanship, the need for relief funding for states, counties, and local governments, and the importance of wearing a mask to stop the spread. You can learn more HERE.

Governor Whitmer signed an Executive Order today to begin developing rules that will require implicit bias training as part of the knowledge and skills necessary for health professionals in Michigan. Implicit bias training was one of the recommendations made by the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities, and you can read more HERE.

ImageNext week is a busy week as my Energy and Commerce Subcommittee meets with the Secretary of Energy and we have a Full Committee markup of a number of health bills. My participation will be virtual, from my side porch.  

Today’s photo is of a constituent from Niles who says that she wears a Niles HS mask so we can get back to school in the fall. Go Vikes! TY for sharing. If you’d like to share a photo of your mask, click HERE.

Remember, wear a mask! For All of Us.


God Bless,

Fred Upton

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If you would like to submit photos to share in these Kitchen Table updates of you social distancing, in your masks, working from home, and other photos of how you are keeping safe during the coronavirus pandemic, please click here.

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