WASHINGTON — As reports continue to circulate about a “mysterious respiratory illness” in China that particularly affects children, a group of Republican U.S. senators sent an open letter Friday to President Joe Biden, urging him to restrict travel between the U.S. and China “until we know more about this disease.”

What You Need To Know

  • Concerned about reports of a "mysterious respiratory illness" in the country, five GOP senators urged President Biden to restrict travel between U.S. and China in an open letter

  • China has recently reported an increase in child hospitalizations for respiratory illnesses

  • Chinese health authorities and experts from the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there are no signs that the illnessses are the result of a new virus

“We should not wait for the WHO (World Health Organization) to take action, given its track record of slavish deference to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party). We must take the necessary steps to protect the health of Americans, and our economy,” the letter reads, in part. It was signed by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rick Scott (R-FL), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and Mike Braun (R-IN).

Following a Nov. 13 Chinese National Health Commission press conference concerning a surge of respiratory illness hospitalizations, WHO officials stated on Nov. 23 that the cases were the result of lifted COVID restrictions and other known viruses.

“Chinese authorities advised that there has been no detection of any unusual or novel pathogens or unusual clinical presentations,” WHO wrote in a recap of its press conference.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said she agrees that the increase of hospitalizations can be blamed on anything from COVID and the flu, to RSV and pneumonia. As reported by NBC News, Cohen commented on the reports while appearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“But they are seeing an upsurge,” she said. “We do have an office, the CDC does, in China. And our officials have been in touch with our counterparts to ensure that we’re understanding the situation there.”

The group of GOP senators argue that the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic require action, not patience, and that the U.S. should "immediately restrict travel between the United States and the PRC (People’s Republic of China) until we know more about the dangers posed by this new illness."

A ban on travel now could save our country from death, lockdowns, mandates, and further outbreaks later, the letter said.

Read the full letter here.