Open, science-based communication key to mitigating harms of COVID-19
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement from APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD
Washington, D.C., Feb. 28, 2020 – “As U.S. communities prepare for COVID-19, a coordinated national response with leadership from top levels of government is critical. Attempts to silence public health officials — or manipulate public information — will only make it harder to get ahead and stay ahead of this virus.
“There’s a science to effective outbreak response, and this must include full and open participation from our most trustworthy messengers — scientists, public health professionals and medical officials. During an outbreak, it’s our duty to instill public confidence, lessen unnecessary panic and fear, and give people the timely and accurate information they need to protect themselves and their loved ones. This is not a time for politics.
“In the face of a disease we are still learning about, it would be highly reckless to allow political interference in the delivery of science-based health information to the public. Such a move would only sow confusion and distrust, making it more difficult for the public health professionals working to control the virus.
“The world is on the verge of a global pandemic, and public trust in government health leaders will be key to mitigating its harm. We must reject any attempt to prioritize politics over the public’s health.”
Links to WHO, CDC, State of Alaska Epidemiology and the Municipality of Anchorage
emergencies/diseases/novel- coronavirus-2019/events-as- they-happen
Importantly, common preventative actions can interrupt and minimize transmission such as frequent hand washing, regular cleaning of high touch items, cover your cough and sneeze, staying home when you are unwell. If you are older or have chronic medical conditions it would be especially important to consider avoiding crowds. Please check the CDC travel website for recommendations about travel and reconsider unnecessary trips.