NEW YORK, NY – Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) announced two legislative initiatives today to compensate surviving individuals and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and to establish a commission for the creation of a National COVID-19 Memorial in New York City.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the US economy, impacted every community across the nation, and wrought unprecedented financial, emotional and physical damage on individuals and families,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “We are in the midst of an invisible war that has so far taken roughly 140,000 lives in the United States, far more than combined loss of American lives during the Vietnam War, the 9/11 attacks, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress must take action to alleviate the suffering of those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as properly commemorate the lives lost, to help our nation recover. I am calling on my congressional colleagues to join me in this effort to help our nation recover both spiritually and economically from this crisis.”

“The Bronx has been one of the hardest hit parts of the country, emblematic of how COVID-19 has ravaged our communities in every imaginable way,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “COVID-19 has forever changed how we go about our daily lives, both literally and figuratively. I applaud Congressman Espaillat for presenting these legislative initiatives that promise to go a long way in jump-starting our collective healing process, not only by helping our most vulnerable communities economically, but also honoring the memory of all those tragically lost to COIVD-19 and the heroic first responders and essential workers who have bravely fought this historic pandemic. I look forward to working with Congressman Espaillat to find a fitting location in the borough of The Bronx for this important national memorial.”

The COVID-19 Victims Compensation Fund Act would create a fund modeled on the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund to provide financial relief to those who fell ill from or the families of those lost to COVID-19. The bill would allow individuals and families to receive compensation for both economic costs due to loss of employment, medical expenses, and loss of business, as well as provide for physical and emotional pain and suffering inflicted by COVID-19.

The COVID-19 National Memorial Act would commemorate victims and help our country overcome this national tragedy as a collective. This legislation would create a commission to plan, design, and raise funds for a national memorial in the Bronx that honors those who lost their lives to the pandemic as well as the doctors, nurses, first responders and other heroes who have selflessly fought to overcome this invisible enemy. As one of the hardest hit parts of the country, and the initial epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., the Bronx is place where everyone has been touched in some way by the pandemic, and a perfect place for the establishment of a national memorial.