Letters to the Editor

Robert T. Harris: Where’s the surgeon general?

Regarding the Oct. 20 news article “CDC revising Ebola rules”: The fear of an Ebola crisis in this country has gone “viral.” Schools are closed, dress shops are being sanitized, a cruise ship had thousands of passengers “diseased” because a Dallas lab worker was on board and the president has named a “czar.”

At times like these, it’s best for the country’s surgeon general to coordinate all medical, public health and government efforts and be a calm communicator to a nervous public. But, wait, we don’t have a surgeon general.

The president’s nominee, Dr. Vivek Murthy, a well-qualified physician and public health expert, has had his appointment as the “country’s doctor” and head of the Public Health Service blocked by Senate Republicans for a year. The reason? Murthy had the audacity to cite gun violence as a public health concern, earning him the senseless spite of the National Rifle Association, with Senate Republicans at gunpoint, fearing loss of NRA political support.

So here we are: a possible public health crisis on our hands and no public health leader.

Robert T. Harris