Omaha doctor James Lawler has returned from Japan where he worked with a medical team to check 400 cruise ship passengers for potential coronavirus.
He helped bring back the 13 Americans who are now quarantined at the University Of Nebraska Medical Center waiting for test results to confirm whether they have the virus.
Dr. Lawler tells WOWT-6 News he understands the concern about the increasing number of coronavirus cases. “This is not a time to panic, this is a time to be deliberate and preparing for what might be an outbreak in the U.S.”
Dr. Lawler has experience with responding to an outbreak. He was on the frontline with the Ebola outbreak. Similar to Ebola, this coronavirus outbreak is new to us and that can lead to misconceptions.
“I think we share concerns about the current outbreak and what will happen over the coming months and to be honest I don't think we know at this point,” Lawler says.
Those can be scary words to hear, but he wants people to remember that no Americans have died from the virus so far in the country. Most cases have been contained to China with only 15 confirmed cases in the United States.
“But I don't think that necessarily means we can sit back and relax I think we really need to prepare for a potentially large outbreak in the U.S.,” Lawler tells WOWT-6 News.
He says the best way to stay on top of the coronavirus is to pay attention to credible sources of information like the CDC and the World Health Organization.
“Sometimes when people are driven by more fear and panic the discussion becomes unproductive,” Lawler says.
When it comes to social media and the opinions of friends on Facebook, Dr. Lawler warns us, it can be unproductive and blur the lines of science and opinion.