Sen. Bill White’s Capitol Report for the Week of March 20, 2020

Commonsense Precautions Dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic

Although government agencies and federal, state and local officials are implementing various mandatory and voluntary emergency procedures in response to the pandemic, the most important factor in not contracting or spreading COVID-19 is us. The simple truth is you have to come into contact with the virus to contract it. Now that we are aware of the threat, here are two of the main actions we can take to minimize our exposure.

The first is to follow the guidelines set by the president and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who have recently dedicated a website and shared this infographic about the importance of slowing the spread of the virus.

The second is social distancing.  Do not attend gatherings of more than a few people and always maintain a distance of six feet between you and everyone else. Handshakes and hugs should also be avoided.

The table below shows the positive impact of social distancing, and it was created by Gary Warshaw, Art Director, and Robert A.J. Signer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, from the University of California San Diego.

Additionally, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services  is encouraging these preventive steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Avoid close contact with others, especially those who are sick;
  • Stay home if you are sick;
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands; and
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.

Call their 24-hour hotline for more information at 877-435-8411.

My staff and I will continue to closely monitor this unfolding situation, and we will frequently update the available resources on my social media channels. Although the Missouri Senate is physically closed through March 29 at the least, my staff and I are available via email at and our phone number (573) 751-2731.  Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones during these unsettling times, and remember social distancing is key.