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Roger Marshall Talks Coronavirus, Police Reform



Congressman Roger Marshall | Roger Marshall Talks Coronavirus, Police Reform | Featured

Jun. 21–If a second wave of the coronavirus were to sweep the country, U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall said he hopes local communities are more prepared with increased resources for testing.

The Republican representative, who is a former physician and U.S. Senate candidate, said Friday to The Mercury he has been working on funneling needed tools and money to communities during the pandemic.

“I think I'm trying to do everything to empower each community to solve this problem themselves,” Marshall said. “We gave the state $82 million for testing a couple weeks ago. … We gave each (federally qualified health clinic) a million dollars for more testing. If there is a second wave, we want to be able to hop on it right away, and lots of testing and tracing is the key.”

The federal government has appropriated billions of dollars to state and local health departments to help with tasks like increasing testing and contact tracing, as well as try to find a treatment drug and vaccine, since the pandemic reached the U.S.

“If there's a second wave I'm hoping we can jump on it and figure out who's got it,” Marshall said. “When school opens this fall — school has to open this fall — there has to be a safe and responsible way to do it. We have to be able to test those kids for fever and quickly determine who needs to be isolated or not.”

For now, Marshall said one of his main focuses is looking at continuing to reopen Kansas' economy, which he thought the state was doing well in so far.

“I think the question we have to decide is are we going to let this virus rule over us or are we going to learn from it, learn everything we can about it and figure out how to go on with life as safely and as responsibly as possible?” he said.

Marshall said he continues to preventatively take the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which President Donald Trump has touted as a potential coronavirus cure. The National Institutes of Health said Saturday that it has halted a clinical trial studying the safety and efficacy of the drug as a treatment for the virus. It determined it was unlikely taking the drug would benefit hospitalized patients with COVID-19, though it wouldn't cause harm either.

Marshall also said he supports President Donald Trump's recent executive order regarding police reform, which will leverage grant funding from the Justice Department to encourage departments to adopt the standards.

It includes independent credentialing and ensuring certain training standards are met, creating a national database to track police misconduct and create guidelines for co-responder programs to have social workers help respond to certain calls.

Marshall, the son of a former police chief, said he saw his father have to serve as a traffic officer, marital counselor, social workers, medic and more while on the job. He said more training and opening up avenues for increased transparency and accountability are needed.

“The thought of defunding police departments has to be the most foolish thing I've ever heard in my life,” he said. “Instead they probably need more funding to do the job properly.”

Senate Republicans and House Democrats have recently introduced bills on police reform, though the former is more narrow than the latter. Both call for increased data collection, more training, incentives to wear body cameras and making lynching a federal crime.

One difference is the House bill includes an end to “qualified immunity,” which protects officers from lawsuits related to their actions in most cases.

Marshall said he thinks qualified immunity should remain in place because its removal may prevent officers from wanting to make split-second decisions for fear of being sued.

The House bill is expected to vote on the bill this week. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has said he wouldn't block the Republic bill from being brought to the floor.


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  • Yoda says:

    The virus has been here at least since last September. The more people you test the more positives there will be. The loss of employment because of the gullible, naive, ill educated, ruled by fear lemurs, has caused more harm and deaths than the virus. Can we actually trust the statistics and the individuals who report them? They have an agenda. They want to turn us into a socialist nation.

    How many have actually died of the virus in nursing homes? Things to consider: Maybe broken hearts, loneliness, the flu, MRSA, thinking it’s a death sentence and committed suicide, homes falsely reporting deaths so that they get compensated, a morbid thought to be considered-murdered, purposely not given hydroxychloroquine and many other possibilities.

    The best way to develop immunity is to be exposed.

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