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US Surgeon General: Be careful, but don’t be afraid of the coronavirus

Editor’s Note: Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams, M.D., is the twentieth general surgeon of U.S. He is a board-certified anesthesiologist with a master’s degree in public health and a member of the Task Force of the Coronavirus of the president. Before being selected for his current position, he served as Indiana Health Commissioner from 2014 to 2017. The opinions expressed in this text are his.

(CNN) – Since I was appointed to the coronavirus working group, I quickly made some observations. It is clear that we must continue to help Americans understand how to protect themselves, but also that we should not invent the wheel. To address the disease outbreak, we can rely on proven planning and preparation that began a long time ago.

While the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, can be scary, Americans must remember that we have experienced other disease outbreaks that we not only manage but overcome. With each occurrence we learned and strengthened our preparation for the next. Our history with these outbreaks gives us the confidence that we have the knowledge, tools and talent to address COVID-19.

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We have the best medical and scientific experts who work with Vice President Mike Pence and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, all taking the necessary measures to protect the public. The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Bob Redfield, is an internationally recognized clinical virologist. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is a world-renowned and respected immunologist who has helped our country navigate viral outbreaks in the past. While we must not be complacent, the public can be sure that we have the best scientific team in the world working day and night to keep our country safe.

Part of my job as a general surgeon is to communicate the best available science to the American people, and that includes how we, as a country, as communities and individuals, must act to stay healthy. This is especially important as we see that as there is a greater potential spread of the community, the US response. UU. It is expanded to include both a focus on virus containment and the limitation of its impact.

Communities and institutions should review their pandemic response plans during previous outbreaks such as the H1N1 flu virus, SARS and Ebola. Health care providers should be attentive to patients who have traveled to regions affected by the coronavirus and to patients with fever and respiratory diseases, but there is no alternative explanation, such as influenza.

There are things that average Americans should, and should not, do to protect themselves. Because COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, there are basic public health measures that can limit its spread. Washing your hands frequently, staying away from sick people or staying home if you get sick and covering yourself when you cough or sneeze are scientifically proven as some of the best and most practical ways for people to remain disease free.

It is not recommended to wear masks for most Americans and mask grabbing can impair our response by reducing the supply available to medical professionals who need them. It is vital that our health care providers have masks and other medical supplies when they care for people who have been exposed to the virus.

Finally, there have been many comparisons of coronavirus with influenza. These direct comparisons are not always useful, but it is worth noting that we are in the middle of a severe flu season and that the flu remains a significant risk for many Americans. Getting vaccinated against the flu not only decreases the chance of getting or being hospitalized for the flu, but preventing the flu can support our response to COVID-19. The ability of the community to respond to COVID-19 will be even stronger if we prevent excess cases of seasonal flu through increased flu vaccination. This is particularly true if those cases of influenza are severe and require hospitalization, so key hospital resources are used.

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Americans should feel calm knowing that we have the best team in the world to protect them from COVID-19, and the best public health and medical care systems to rely on. We must be cautious and take appropriate measures to prepare and protect ourselves, but we must not be afraid.

We have been through this before and nowhere in the world is better prepared to handle this challenge. Let’s turn fear into actions that will help us stay safe.

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