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Dear Neighbor, 

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this month's newsletter. As we continue the 2019-20 Legislative Session, I would like to hear what your legislative priorities are. Please reach out to me anytime with your ideas by calling (608) 266-0650 or emailing me at Rep.Brostoff@legis.wi.gov.

If you have a suggestion for next month's event calendar, featured neighbor, nonprofit, or business, please visit my submission page here.

Keep up-to-date with ongoing information and developments by following me on Twitter and Facebook and by visiting my website.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

In service,
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Jonathan Brostoff
State 
Representative
19th Assembly District

 

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COVID-19

COVID-19, also often referred to as the “novel coronavirus,” is a new respiratory disease that has spread incredibly rapidly around the world since it was first discovered in China at the end of last year. Earlier this year, the World Health Organization officially designated COVID-19 as a “pandemic,” and has since called on governments across the world to take decisive steps to protect their populations from the spread of this disease. The rapid spread of COVID-19 both here in Wisconsin and across the country has led to public health emergency declarations to help respond to the virus. Because this disease is brand new, our populations have not developed resistance to it and we have no vaccines to combat it, like we do with the seasonal flu. 

As a result, COVID-19 has spread across the world very quickly, which has been compounded by the fact that most people don’t show any symptoms of the disease for up to two weeks, even though they are contagious throughout that period. While the vast majority of cases of COVID-19 have been quite mild, particularly among younger populations, the disease has proven very dangerous to older populations and to individuals with chronic health conditions. In order to protect those populations, we all need to do our part.

Even though COVID-19 has not been especially life-threatening for most younger people, it has proven very dangerous to older adults and people with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. While this is also the case with other common diseases (such as the seasonal flu), COVID-19 has proven to be significantly more contagious than other similar viruses, and this fact is only compounded by the long incubation period (during which even asymptomatic cases are contagious) and the current lack of any cures or vaccines. 

Because of these factors, it is imperative that we all work together to protect our friends, families, loved ones, and communities from the spread of COVID-19 by strictly adhering to public health and state emergency guidelines.

COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets such as those created when you cough, sneeze, or speak, and depending on the surface, the COVID-19 virus has shown a troubling ability to live on surfaces for up to three days. In order to combat the spread of COVID-19, there are a handful of important measures we can all take to protect ourselves and those around us:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Using hand sanitizer consisting of at least 60% alcohol will also neutralize the virus, but will leave it on your hands. Properly washing with soap and water will remove any traces of the virus completely, and is the best way to disinfect your hands.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes: as mentioned above, COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets, up to 3000 of which are created every time you cough. By covering your coughs and sneezes, you can help prevent those respiratory droplets from spreading as far as they would if you did not cover your mouth.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth. These are the easiest pathways for COVID-19 to enter your system. 
  • Regularly disinfect “high-touch” surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, and faucets.
  • If you feel ill at all, stay home from work. Furthermore, if you start to show the symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, dry cough, shortness of breath), call your primary care doctor or an urgent care facility in order to get guidance on next steps. 
  • Follow Governor Evers’ “Safer at Home” order, and practice social distancing! In order to fight the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Evers has ordered all non-essential businesses in the state to close, and is strongly urging Wisconsinites to stay home as much as possible. Please, only leave your home for essential activities, such as getting groceries or supplies, taking care of loved ones who need assistance, getting exercise, or commuting to work if you are an essential worker. If you do need to leave your house, please follow social distancing guidelines by keeping 6-10 feet away from other individuals. The best tool we have to fight COVID-19 is limiting our exposure to the virus, and the best way we can limit our exposure is to stay safe at home as much as possible!

No doubt about it, the COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented in the modern era, and it has been a difficult time for all of us. But times of crisis also present us with the opportunity to reflect on what got us to this point, and what we can do to soften the blows of future crises. To that end, I recently wrote an op-ed to discuss the lessons we can learn from this pandemic, and I encourage you to read it to get my thoughts on how our experience with COVID-19 highlights the extremely pressing needs for BadgerCare expansion, universal paid sick leave policies, and mail-in elections in our state. 


I understand that times are tough right now, but Wisconsin and its people are tougher. And together, we will make it through this crisis stronger than ever.

 

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Wisconsin, visit the Wisconsin DHS fact page at: 

https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/

 
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Neighbor of the Month 

 

Given the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, for this month’s neighbor of the month feature, I want to send a huge THANK YOU to all of our essential and front-line workers who are working incredibly hard to make sure that we are well taken care of and supplied during this crisis. Medical professionals, first responders, grocery and hardware store workers, truck drivers, tradespeople, and many more are working tirelessly to make sure that key aspects of our health, safety, and daily needs are protected even during this crisis, and they are putting themselves on the front lines of this battle in order to do so. These workers deserve our respect, our admiration, and our thanks. To all of Wisconsin’s front-line and essential workers, thank you for all that you do!
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Nonprofit of the Month 

This month, I am encouraging my readers to help out our local nonprofits who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic! Many local organizations have been helping out with relief efforts, and have had their resources stretched very thin as a result of the increased need our community has faced during these difficult times. Food pantries, community service organizations, and even blood banks can all use your help in securing donations of food, supplies, or money to help keep our communities cared for. By coming together, we can work to make sure that everyone in our community can make it through this!

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Business of the Month 

 

During the COVID-19 crisis, I will be using my social media pages to help highlight local businesses in Milwaukee that are still providing services (while complying with Gov. Evers’ “Safer at Home” order, of course). If you own or know of a small business that is open during the COVID-19 crisis and would like to be featured on my social media pages, help me shout them out! To submit a business, please:

  • Write up a short description of the restaurant or business, including what they specialize in and where in Milwaukee they are located
  • Include what services they are offering during the public health emergency (e.g., takeout/delivery, online orders)
  • Email the information to me at rep.brostoff@legis.wisconsin.gov
  • Share widely once the post goes up!

 

Working for You 

Earlier this month, Senator Chris Larson and I introduced a new package of bills that will help protect voters and our democracy in the case that an emergency threatens the vibrancy and integrity of our elections. Crises don't take a break for elections, but that doesn't mean that we should just give in and accept low-turnout, undermined elections. This bill package would make sure that we have the necessary flexibility to properly run our elections no matter the circumstances!

 

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 Community Events

 

Due to the COVID-19 crisis and the importance of staying "Safer at Home," avoiding community events is incredibly important to helping slow the spread of the virus in our communities. Instead, I encourage my constituents to use this time to catch up on books, movies, and tv shows, to play games with their families, or to check out some of the incredible, livestreamed concerts that are being pioneered during this time!

What's Up Wednesday
Brostoff in the News
Legislative Work
“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” – Timber Hawkeye