Gary S. Branfman

Gary S. Branfman

The coronavirus has resulted in over 3,500 deaths, and is approaching 20 in America.

But why is the mass media pointing fingers and promoting panic? Akin to yelling, “FIRE!” in a crowded movie theatre, isn’t this sort of behavior not protected by the First Amendment?

Creating mass hysteria is counterproductive and dangerous.

Mainstream headlines seem to have missed some important facts.

According to Dr. Syra Madad, senior director of the special pathogens program for New York City, over 60,000 people have recovered after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

Meanwhile, in China, the death rate from the coronavirus has been zero in children under 10 and 0.7% in healthy adults.

Compare those facts with “the flu”, which so far this year in America has resulted in over 15,000 deaths – and over 100 victims have been children.

Before I proceed, allow me first and foremost to assure you, I am not condemning President Obama nor am I commending President Trump.

I am, however, pointing out the dismal double-standard and preposterous politicization of a deadly disease.

In a rare showing of camaraderie and support, Buttigieg, Biden, Sanders and Warren all agreed with Bloomberg when he accused Trump of “burying his head in the sand”.

Let’s rewind to April 2009. A new virus, the H1N1 Virus was detected in America. No one seemed particularly critical of President Obama, whose recommendation was, “Wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough. Stay home from work if you’re sick.”

Six months later, 22 million Americans had been infected and over 4,000 were dead. Within the first year, in the United States, 61 million people were infected and 12,469 had died.

Neither House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid or anyone else for that matter accused President Obama of not doing enough to keep Americans safe.

Fast forward to Jan. 7, 2020 when coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was first isolated.

According to the Washington post, Trump has worked tirelessly to, “…interrupt nearly any strategic-planning initiative necessary to defend the country against the type of inevitable biological assault that we now face.”

Say, what? Within three weeks of the coronavirus being identified, President Trump declared a public health emergency and the quarantine of Americans who have recently been to certain parts of China. This was the first quarantine order issued by the federal government in half a century.

Additionally, the U.S. government almost immediately contracted with 3M corporation to produce 35 million more face masks per month.

In addition to signing an $8.3 billion emergency spending package, President Trump has contributed $100,000 of his presidential income to help “support the efforts being undertaken to confront, contain and combat coronavirus.”

Despite these facts, CNN’s Brian Stelter stated, “… countless experts have warned that the president’s lack of credibility would imperil the country in the event of an emergency. As the coronavirus outbreak worsens, those fears may be coming true….”

Equally absurd is the criticism aimed at Trump for assigning Vice President Pence to oversee the U.S. coronavirus Containment efforts. This is an administrative assignment which requires no medical training.

Since the announcement, all federal restrictions on testing have been lifted, new guidelines to fast-track testing for people who fear they have the virus are being implemented, and according to Dr. Stephen Hahn, the head of the Food and Drug Administration, “… by the end of this week, close to a million tests will be able to be performed.”

And on a related note, six months ago, Homeland Security officials found 10 illegal immigrants in Palm Beach, Florida including 5 Chinese men and 2 Chinese women. Five months ago, federal agents discovered 10 Chinese citizens hiding in an abandoned shack in Marfa, and 3 months ago 11 Chinese citizens were found hiding in a furniture truck in San Diego. How can we contain the spread of a deadly virus originating in China if we cannot control our borders?

Trump may be powerful, but even he cannot create a deadly virus, nor can he cure it. Tens of millions of Americans dislike President Trump, but we’re all in this together.

I wish our president all the best in dealing with this crisis.

Regardless of whether you are trying to avoid an influenza virus or the coronavirus:

1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

3. Stay home when you are sick.

4. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

6. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

7. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

8. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.

9. The use of face masks is also crucial for people who are taking care of an infected individual.

If you do experience upper respiratory symptoms, fever, chills, body aches,

Don’t panic. See a doctor. Get tested. Get treated.

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Gary S. Branfman, MD, FACS, is the medical director of The Victoria Plastic Surgery Center.

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(1) comment

Steve Fiedler

well said doc. shalom sf

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