AMA President urges caution in Tennessee re-opening, panic should not lead to hoarding


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Panic, hoarding, and caution were some of the topics heard in Tennessee this week from the president of a well-known health care group.

“We have to make sure that panic does not end up guiding our actions,” American Medical Association Dr. Patrice Harris said, “That is the message I have been sending out to the public.”

Harris, who is a psychiatrist, told the Economic Club of Nashville that panic because of COVID-19 should be channeled into what she calls “collective action” instead of behaviors driven by fear like hoarding.

Dr. Patrice Harris
Dr. Patrice Harris, President of the American Medical Association

“We at the AMA have witnessed a concerning shift over the past few decades where policy decisions seem to be driven by ideology instead of facts and evidence,” Dr. Harris told the club by Zoom this week.

She was asked about all the talk from Washington to Tennessee about re-opening businesses that have closed because of the coronavirus.

“We have to be extremely cautious in reopening or loosening restrictions,” said Dr. Harris, “It should always be based on the science and the evidence.”

The talk from the doctor, who has often been on national television during the pandemic, cautions about too much misinformation concerning COVID-19.

“(It) spreads like viruses online through social media and at times spread through regular media at large,” added Dr. Harris.

It is one of the most difficult parts of the pandemic, keeping up with the ever-changing information about a virus never seen before.

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