[The coronavirus] doesn’t care about politics. It only understands its biology. If we don’t begin to think like the virus, people will die.
In interviews that aired nationally on April 29 and May 7, and May 28 Dr. Eric G. Bing spoke with CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca about Texas’ response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and about public health challenges faced by reopening communities across the United States.
Bing, a physician and epidemiologist who teaches public health at Southern Methodist University, observed in his April 29 interview on CBS This Morning that “it’s important to have more tests so we know the rate of infection, so we have a good baseline. Without that baseline, we’re kind of shooting in the dark.” Noting that Texas’ rates of testing at the time of the interview were too low for public health experts to have a good idea of how many people in the state were infected, Bing cautioned that Texas leaders need to begin thinking more about the way the virus spreads if they hope to minimize COVID-19 deaths.
In his second CBS This Morning interview on May 7, Bing pointed out that the rate of new confirmed COVID-19 cases was rising as Texas began to allow certain kinds of businesses to reopen. “The land mines are planted,” he said, “and as we begin to walk around, we’re gonna step on them.” Bing went on to express concerns that Americans are no longer adhering to social distancing guidelines as well, and that this will likely contribute to an even faster spread of the virus as formal restrictions are lifted.
As part of a May 28 segment on CBS Evening News, Bing highlighted the critical importance of wearing masks as communities and states continue to pursue reopening measures, comparing wearing a mask to wearing a seat belt: “You don’t put your seat belt on when you’re six feet from the other car, you put your seat belt on when you get in the car. . . . The same thing goes for the masks.”
Additional information and guidance on COVID-19 is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
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