Chuck Grassley will not cancel public meetings in Iowa amid novel coronavirus

Sen. Chuck Grassley told reporters on Wednesday that he is planning on carrying out public events as scheduled during the congressional district work period next week.


Katie Goodale

U.S Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks with reporters during a press conference at Mercy Hospital on July 2, 2019. (Katie Goodale/The Daily Iowan)

Julia Shanahan, Politics Editor

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told reporters in a conference call on Wednesday that he will not be taking self-isolation measures or canceling public meetings in Iowa at this time, amid a rising number of novel coronavirus cases in the state.

“As leaders, we in the Congress need to continue to do the people’s business all while following all of the medical experts to take the cautions that are necessary, and that’s what I’m going to do,” Grassley told reporters.

Grassley the precautions will include avoiding handshakes, keeping a three to six feet distance from other people, and other basic hygiene recommendations from the Center of Disease Control.

There are currently 13 positive cases of COVID-19 in Iowa, 12 of which are in Johnson County. The Johnson County cases are all connected to an Egyptian cruise, and most cases are individuals over the age of 60.

Across Washington D.C., Virginia, and Maryland, there are 21 positive cases. The D.C. Health Department is recommending that all essential gatherings greater than 1,000 people to be postponed, and the World Health Organization declared the outbreak to be a “global pandemic” on Wednesday.

Grassley said to “forget about listening to political leaders on the subject,” and to focus attention to public health officials. He said he’s regularly attending briefings and is in daily contact with Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office.

Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, announced Monday that they will be looking at “targeted tax-relief measures” in response to the novel coronavirus possibly slowing the economy. He added that the FED is looking at lowering interest rates and that the federal government may extend the deadline for individuals to file income taxes.

“So all of these things have to be on the table, and I don’t think they can all be done in one foul swoop, because I think some things could be done this week, but probably minimal compared to what needs to be done if we have a real economic downturn,” Grassley said.

Rep Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, is also sticking to planned events, according to a press release on Wednesday.

Axne will be holding a mental health round table in Mount Ayr, Iowa, and a town hall in Corning, Iowa on March 16.

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