It may seem obvious, but information about the new coronavirus — like how fast it's spreading in the U.S., who's at risk and how best to stay healthy — might not be accurate if disseminated by politicians who have a vested interest in appearing like they have the situation under control.
After President Trump commented that Americans need the wall along the southern border "now more than ever," in relation to the spread of the illness, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield faced questions from Congress about it, and said he wasn't aware of any reason why physical barriers like the wall would halt the virus' spread.
Last weekend, as Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar made appearances on Sunday news shows to share information about the new coronavirus, while medical professionals like Anthony Fouci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stayed quiet.
While he denies being muzzled, medical ethicist Arthur Caplan told Boston Public Radio on Wednesday medical professionals need to get vocal about COVID-19, even if it means standing up to top politicians.
"Should Vice President Pence be vetting the info that goes out to all of us, or should Fouci be vetting Pence? I'm in the latter camp," said Caplan. "Having a political ideologue ... they should not be the clearinghouse for information about this, it's absurd. Every (CDC, National Institute of Health, and Food and Drug Administration) official should be screaming bloody murder that we're using ideological filtering, not science filtering."
Medical ethicist Art Caplan is head of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center.