Suraj Patel, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-East Side Manhattan, Western Queens, Brooklyn) in the upcoming Democratic primary, hosted a Public Health Briefing on the coronavirus with four female doctors at Hunter College this week and utilized at least some of the forum for taking shots at his incumbent opponent.
“This is what your representative is supposed to do,” Patel said about why he organized the panel. “Our campaign is premised on the idea that science, technology and innovation are going to be needed to solve the world’s biggest problems. And that we cannot rely on representatives who, in the past, attacked science and scientists.”
But Maloney’s campaign pushed back, questioning Patel’s ethics for politicizing an important forum on the ongoing coronavirus crises.
“Congresswoman Maloney has called for free, wide distribution of any vaccines developed to address the Coronavirus, and is in the process of investigating the administration’s anemic response in her role as Chairwoman of the Oversight Committee. Meanwhile, her opponent is spreading gross miscategorizations of her work, downplaying his background as a real estate developer, and inflating his teaching title on Twitter – which tells NY-12 voters everything they need to know about his ‘ethics’ and ability to represent them in Congress,” said a spokesperson for the Maloney campaign.
Patel’s partial politicalization of the event didn’t take away from the importance of the panel in which Doctors Purvi Parikh, Amelia Boehme, Dahlia Rizk and Sussan Michaels-Strasser answered Patel’s and the audience’s questions on methods to avoid coronavirus spread and the misinformation about the virus.
After Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the number of coronavirus cases in New York rose to 11, New Yorkers have been observing the news of the outbreak more closely.
All panelists agreed that personal hygiene plays a big role when it comes to catching the virus. “That is the easiest way to get coronavirus,” Parikh said about people touching their face, and she advised the audience to wash their hands regularly and get flu shots.
“Handwashing is, hands down, the best option. But if it is not available, using hand sanitizer is a great alternative,” Boehme said. “Masks will not protect you from this. Surgical masks are helpful if you, yourself, are sick to prevent spread to others.”
But Boehme also stated that buying masks without needing them causes a shortage for medical personnel who actually need it.