Congressman Al Green’s Statement on Novel Coronavirus Press Conference

Jan 31, 2020 Issues: Health Care

(Houston, TX) – On Friday, January 31, 2020, Congressman Al Green held a press conference to discuss the public health issue regarding novel coronavirus. He was joined by public health officials and community leaders to address misinformation regarding a rumored coronavirus case – that has been dispelled by the Houston Health Department – as well as the negative effects that misinformation has had on local businesses. Following the press conference, Congressman Green released this statement:

“Coronavirus has become a buzzword and global topic of discussion since the respiratory illness was first detected in China more than a month ago. While it is imperative that we acknowledge the serious nature of the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus strain (2019-nCoV), we must not stoke any looming fears or stigmas surrounding this public health issue. Houstonians should not be skeptical of traversing any parts of the city that they typically frequent due to this virus. The businesses in Houston’s Chinatown have not been deemed unsafe to patronize by the Houston Health Department or any other trusted health authorities well-versed on issues related to novel coronavirus.

“As World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Tedros indicated in his January 30th statement –

‘This is the time for facts, not fear.

This is the time for science, not rumors.

This is the time for solidarity, not stigma.’

“The facts are that there are currently 6 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the United States and none are located in the State of Texas. The science suggests that – while there is no vaccine currently available to prevent novel coronavirus – proper handwashing and hygiene, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, as well as staying home and seeking medical care when sick can help prevent the spread of this and other respiratory illnesses like the flu. When we collaborate to dispel misinformation and only perpetuate facts from trusted sources, solidarity is achieved, and stigma is diminished. When people maliciously spread false information and rumors, they may be subjecting themselves to legal liability.

“I must thank each of the health officials from various levels of local government as well as the community leaders here today for their dedication to helping ensure our communities are informed. For more information on novel coronavirus, call 1-800-CDC-INFO. That’s 1-800-232-4636.”