Open, science-based communication key to mitigating harms of COVID-19

Date: Feb 28 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Media Relations

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.”

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The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at www.apha.org.