COVID-19 is the biggest threat the United States has faced since 9/11. The nation’s economy and public safety are endangered like never before. In the days following Sept. 11, first responders and Armed Services members led the recovery. During the era of the coronavirus, doctors, nurses and health care workers are the heroes this nation is depending on. Congress must set them as priority number one in the COVID-4 stimulus package.

Frontline health care workers are making enormous sacrifices. Through their constant and round-the-clock treatment efforts, they are exposing themselves to the worst of the virus. Tragically, some of the infections that they’ll contract will be fatal. In addition to physical risk, doctors and nurses are doing self-isolation, for fear of spreading the virus in their own households. The mental toll from this isolation is debilitating.

Unfortunately, social distancing measures mean that elective care procedures are placed on hold. While it may be necessary to flatten the curve, these holds and cancellations mean that health care providers are losing revenue. If these losses are severe enough, then we could see mass closures of hospitals and health care facilities, compounding the current disaster.

Congress has both the opportunity and ability to put frontline health care workers at the forefront of COVID-4. The CARES Act was a step in the right direction, but more financial support should go to the front lines.

I urge Sen. Susan Collins to again take the lead, this time on behalf of our health care workers.

Leslie Dubois, Lewiston

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