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Rep. Rick Larsen says Pence was complimentary during Washington state visit

US Vice President Mike Pence gestures with Washington State Governor Jay Inslee during a press conference on March 5, 2020 in Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

President Trump signed an $8.3 billion funding bill to tackle the coronavirus. Vice President Pence was in Washington state Thursday to discuss the response to the outbreak with Congressional leaders as well as local health leaders.

Congressman Rick Larsen, the Democrat from from Everett, was part of the meetings and joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss the visit and how Washington state is handling coronavirus.

“The main takeaway is that Washington state seems to be really on top of this challenge of the coronavirus, the Vice President made that case and was very complimentary of the public health teams and the emergency response teams,” he said. “The second takeaway is that the this issue is a bipartisan issue. The Vice President and Governor Inslee standing there together–they would have been arm in arm except that violates good public health advice right now.”

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“Coronavirus doesn’t have a voter preference. This is nonpartisan and we took action in a bipartisan way with this funding bill. There’s still testing that has to occur, and a variety of other issues, making sure dollars get down the local public health districts.”

The Washington State Department of Health released the latest numbers on coronavirus cases, now up to 79 statewide. That includes 58 in King County, 19 in Snohomish County, 1 in Grant, and the first confirmed case in Jefferson County. The DOH reports no new deaths beyond the 11 confirmed on Thursday morning.

“The debate about the mortality rate is interesting–we wanted it to be zero, that’s where we want it to go. We’re likely to experience more positive cases than we have now, but that is actually a positive development because it means people are getting tested. We are finding out who has it, who doesn’t have it, the severity of it and that helps target the response better.”

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Larsen did note one amusing anecdote about how coronavirus is impacting handshaking even when the Vice President Pence visited.

“Kind of a funny story about the visit that’s a little inside baseball for your listeners … I asked his staff, ‘So what’s protocol with the Vice President? Are we shaking hands or are we not shaking hands when he comes off?'”

“The guy at the time said, ‘Oh we’re shaking hands, it’s not a problem.’ Then we land and we’re told, ‘Oh no, we’re going to be doing elbow bumps, not shaking hands.'”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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