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Former Surgeon General--and Tucsonan--speaks on coronavirus

Dr. Carmona says leave politics out of response
Posted at 7:55 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-14 18:19:44-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - The President's declared the coronavirus a national emergency.----focusing medical resources on a national scale.

A well known Tucson doctor has experience in just that sort of challenge.

Doctor Richard Carmona has a deep understanding of the public health challenge coronavirus presents.

President George W. Bush appointed him U.S. Surgeon General. Doctor Carmona spent four years in the post. Before that he developed a lot of the public health system that serves Pima County today.

What follows is a condensed version of our interview with Doctor Carmona. One of our first questions---how are we doing---as the government, and the public.

He said, “Well, I'd say we're struggling right now. I think that the message is coming out at the federal level have been confusing because a lot of politicians are giving messages. and I think the public would like to be reassured from a physician or a scientist who's expert in the field. This is a health issue it's not a political issue. We're talking about peoples' lives."


<"It is our job and me as a surgeon general when I would speak about these things. It was my obligation and opportunity to translate complex science into something that's easily understandable. We call that health literacy, so that then the person armed with that information will make prudent decisions for them and their family, but it helps when that information comes from a trusted source, where there's not perceived to be ulterior motives, political motives, especially."


“It's new and different. And because it's new and different. Why we call it a novel virus because your body hasn't seen it before it hasn't been out there, so people don't have antibodies. So you get challenged. Now if you're a healthy person, you'll get a little fever, you'll cough or sneeze, you may get a GI upset, but in a week or so you're going to be fine. The vulnerable population is what we worried about because when you're living on the edge, you already have cancer, you have AIDS, you have chronic diseases that require a lot of medications that suppress your immune system, there's where the vulnerability is.">


“So the idea is, let's be smart. Limit, as much as you can, those contacts and practice good public health, especially hand-washing, when you sneeze, you cough, tissue into the fold of your arm things like that to limit the exposure by everybody if we all do that, we can help to ensure that this virus dies out sooner."

Doctor Carmona says with conflicting and often wrong information flowing so freely, it's important to choose a few sources that are credible beyond dispute and stick with them for coronavirus information. He especially recommends the site from the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control.