Coronavirus Update

“The coronavirus has the potential to cause widespread suffering and economic damage in South Carolina and across the country. Each day, I think about my grandparents who raised me in a little house in Orangeburg and the hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians like them who are the most vulnerable during this crisis. I think about the healthcare workers who are putting their lives on the line to serve our community.

“These are the South Carolinians who need the most help in this trying time. We all have to do our share and come together as a community. This is a time for real leadership, for leadership that is focused on the people of South Carolina. Everything else comes second. As we learned in Matthew 25:40, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

– Jaime

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Here’s what we know, folks:

  • Every one of us can prevent the spread of Covid-19. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Stay at home as much as possible, and when you have to leave home avoid common contact with others, such as hugging and shaking hands. Most importantly, if you have any of the symptoms of Covid-19, such as a cough, shortness of breath, or a fever, contact your doctor right away.
  • The test for Covid-19 is now free — no one should worry about the cost of a test if they feel symptoms.
  • Federal help for South Carolina families is finally happening, but is long overdue. The federal government is finally providing aid to South Carolina, including direct cash assistance to families, paid sick leave, extended unemployment insurance, and support for small businesses. For weeks, Jaime has been urging our leaders in Washington to put workers and families first as they work to address this crisis. 

Our campaign is a part of this community, too.

  • Our campaign is a part of our South Carolina community, and we’re doing everything we can to help South Carolina during this difficult time.

Jaime’s Agenda

Jaime has put forward a clear plan for how we can deal with the crisis presented by Covid-19, and is committed to putting workers and families first.

Working South Carolinians are the ones who need the most help from any federal stimulus or tax cut in response to the coronavirus. Without an adequate financial firewall in place, they and other South Carolinians will be the ones bearing the brunt of higher health care costs, missed paychecks and greater risks in the workplace.

  • Massively expand testing so we know who will get sick and transmit Covid-19. We still do not have the capacity to find out who in South Carolina may be carrying the coronavirus. That has to change before we can get this virus under control.
  • Ensure every hospital has the equipment they need, such as ventilators, and ensure health care workers have essential personal protective equipment. Across the county, there is already a shortage of essential equipment, from ventilators and respirators to protective masks and testing swabs. This must be remedied immediately, and the federal government must work hand-in-hand with the private sector to ensure no patient or provider lacks the supplies and equipment they need.
  • Any federal stimulus must help low-income and economically vulnerable South Carolinians including those who live on fixed incomes or reside in rural areas. Here in South Carolina many families are already barely hanging on, because our state has already been dealing with a health care crisis. In 2018, more than 500,000 South Carolinians had no health insurance; our state has an uninsured rate 13 percent higher than the national average.
  • Expand Medicaid immediately for more than 200,000 uninsured South Carolinians. Our state has not expanded Medicaid coverage, even though that simple step would give more than 200,000 uninsured South Carolinians access to health insurance. This should happen right away in the face of the coming crisis.
  • Dramatically expand unemployment benefits. Workers like restaurant servers, bus drivers and retail store clerks — whose jobs require person-to-person interactions — do not have the luxury of being able to “work from home.” It is also difficult for many South Carolinians who potentially could work from home to actually do so: almost one-third of our state lacks access to broadband.
  • Provide working Americans paid sick leave and child-care assistance. There must also be a guarantee that low-income families in South Carolina will not lose wages if parents test positive for the coronavirus and must take care of themselves and their kids.
  • Halt to all payments on federal loans, such as those made to small businesses and students. In these times, no one should have to miss a payment for their student loan or small business because of a national crisis.
  • Halt and assistance for rent and mortgage payments. No South Carolinian should have to worry about whether they can keep a roof over their head in this time of economic uncertainty. Many South Carolinians have already lost their job, and the unfortunate reality of this crisis is that many more will soon face unemployment. We must halt rent and mortgage payments and provide assistance to those who need it.
  • Food assistance. Too many South Carolinians can’t put food on the table even during normal times. Today, we must massively expand our efforts to ensure every resident of our state is able to feed themselves and their family.
  • Expand broadband internet into rural communities. Find outside–the-box approaches to expand access to broadband services in rural South Carolina. This virus is forcing citizens to use tele-health services for healthcare, and is forcing students and parents to have class sessions and work from home. We must immediately address the gaps in internet coverage across our state. 

How you can help:

Through our Harrison Helps community service project, we’re partnering with food banks across South Carolina to get them the resources they need to provide services to South Carolinians in need during this crisis. If you are able, please consider making a donation below.