Transcript: The ReidOut, 1/13/22
Let’s bring in Congressman and physician Raul Ruiz of California, who`s joining us from the Palm Springs Convention Center, where he`s helping the FIND Food Bank distribute COVID-19 antigen test. Also with us is former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal.
And thank you both for being here.
And, Congressman Ruiz, I want to start with you.
And thank you for what you’re doing. I love that you are helping to actually get tests, because that’s what people so desperately need.
But, just as a physician, as somebody who is out there trying to represent the people and help them, what do you make of the Supreme Court doing away with this mandate?
REP. RAUL RUIZ (D-CA): It doesn’t make sense.
And in a public health perspective, it only hurts us. It is only good for our public’s health and for the large corporations, businesses to keep their employees safe. And they can do so by either ensuring that they get vaccinated or that they get tested and, if they’re positive, to stay away from other individuals that can also spread the virus and cause more sick days and loss of productivity for that company.
So it is a bad day for our public health efforts. But we still have some good news. The Biden administration has purchased over 500 million tests. They’re on their way to providing 300 million a month. We also have these pilot programs with the Health and Human Services and USDA that we see here, where they’re taking the test to the people into the communities that are vulnerable.
If you’re food-insecure, then your immune system is probably weaker, and, therefore, you will get more severely sick. You also more likely live in resource-poor settings, where you have lack of access, lack of space in your household to prevent from getting infected and quarantining, being able to quarantine away from other family members.
And, therefore, this is a very high-risk, vulnerable population. And I think it’s very smart. And the pilot program is working. This organization FIND Food Bank, under the leadership of Debbie Espinosa, has already distributed 50,000 tests. Today, they’re going to distribute over 800 tests — testing kits to household right here in Palm Springs in the Coachella Valley.