NORFOLK, Va. — After the World Health Organization deemed the coronavirus a global public health emergency, health officials at EVMS decided to host a roundtable discussion for the public.
The public meeting is rescheduled at 6 p.m. March 4 at Lester Hall, room 135.
The EVMS Master of Public Health program will hold the discussion.
EVMS officials hope to ease concerns anyone may have and get the truth out there about coronavirus. EVMS Dr. Edward Oldfield said the goal is to educate.
“It's so people get the facts, and really prevent any panic or overreaction," said Dr. Oldfield.
Dr. Oldfield said recent numbers show those highest at risk would be older folks.
"The Chinese just released data on the first 72,000 cases they have. For those under 12 years of age, there was no death. It wasn't really until over the age of 60 that we have more of a problem than we do with the flu,” he said. Dr. Oldfield added that for now, the flu should be Americans' bigger concern.
"In the United States right now there's only been 14 cases and only two secondary transmissions and those were close family members. And for the flu, we've already had 26 million cases and 250,000 hospitalizations, and I think this coronavirus right now pales in comparison,” said Dr. Oldfield.
If the coronavirus becomes an issue in Hampton Roads, Norfolk Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response Jim Redick said they’re prepared to help health officials.
"If they have to bring medicines in this area for dispensing sites, we would transport that medicine for them. We would provide security, we would work on getting volunteers or other workers to help establish those operations,” said Redick.
Redick hopes people will bring questions Thursday night to the EVMS roundtable discussion.
“You can replace fear with facts. People are usually afraid of what they don't understand so it's an opportunity to get questions answered,” said Redick.
To attend, RSVP to email@example.com or call 757-446-6120.