Charlie Crist Calls on CDC to Step Up Outreach to Combat Coronavirus

At the end of last week, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., sent a letter to Director Robert Redfield of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calling for greater action and transparency as the United States prepares for the threat from the coronavirus. Specifically, Crist asked that the CDC be “transparent about the steps it is taking and what the American people can be doing to protect themselves and their families.”

The coronavirus, which was first reported in China on December 31, 2019, has more than 28,000 confirmed cases across Asia, Europe, and North America, including the United States. In the letter, Crist urged the CDC to focus on outreach, prevention, and education options for vulnerable, at-risk communities, such as young children, seniors, and those with compromised immune systems.

The letter is below:

Dear Director Redfield,

As you know, the world is confronting a global health emergency.  A novel coronavirus has spread across continents and could be particularly contagious – even before an infected person shows symptoms.

With new information coming out every day, my constituents are concerned about what the virus could mean for them and their families and what their government is doing to keep them safe.  They want to be informed and engaged, not left in the dark like what they are seeing out of China.  By concealing early information about the disease, the Chinese government enabled its spread – along with the spread of fear and misinformation.  To avoid a repeat of that in the United States, transparency is key.

While the Administration recently announced bold steps, it is critical that CDC get the message through to the American people about what they can be doing to protect themselves and their families.  It is also critical that this outreach intentionally and specifically target the groups most at risk: specifically, parents with young children, expectant mothers, senior citizens, and those with compromised immune systems. At a time when the American people are wondering if we are doing everything we can, the more information CDC can convey, the better.

Our number one job is protecting the American people.  I look forward to working together to take every scientifically sound step to control the spread of this novel coronavirus and, ultimately, eliminate it.

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