Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Leahy was joined on the newsmakers line by Dr. Manny Sethi.
During the second hour, Dr. Sethi discussed the realities of the coronavirus and its origins in China and how the country was ultimately responsible for the spread. He described the virus as being a particular danger due to a lack of symptoms and that young children and older people were more susceptible because of weaker immune systems.
Leahy: I am delighted that you are here. I’m also excited because Dr. Manny Sethi is on the line, and he’s a doctor! He’s running for the United States Senate on the Republican side against former Ambassador Bill Hagerty. He’s a doctor!
Leahy: He knows about the coronavirus.
Leahy: He can separate fact from fiction.
Leahy: The narrative. And with that introduction, Dr. Manny Sethi welcome to The Tennessee Star Report.
Sethi: Thank you, Michael, it’s great to be back brother.
Carmichael: Hi Manny, how are you, sir?
Sethi: I’m good. I’m good.
Leahy: Help me out here Dr. Manny. (Laughs)
Sethi: Yes, of course.
Leahy: I look at all the Democrats are saying and like the sky is falling! Civilization is at its end. This is serious stuff. Let’s start first with the coronavirus. How exactly is it transmitted?
Sethi: Well you know, the coronavirus, and they’re not exactly sure of all the ways. But the basic way is through droplets in the air. If you cough. If you sneeze. It’s easy to transmit. Now the problem is that the incubation time of this disease is very long.
So initially we thought it was two weeks. Now people are saying it could be up to three weeks. So imagine you’re carrying around the flu for three weeks and you don’t know it and you give it to a lot of people.
And that’s why this disease is a little more with a fatality rate that is higher than the flu because you carry it around for so much longer and you can give it to more people. And that’s the problem with this disease. 80% of people who get the coronavirus or COVID-19 as they’re calling it.
They’re going to be OK. But it’s the 20% that will get very sick. And of that 20%, the number of folks that die from this thing is about 5%. Those are the folks that are very sick from the get-go. They are much older. Their immune systems are not as good.
Young babies or very very young children. That’s where the concern is. I’ll just tell you, its almost if I told y’all, the electricity may go off in your house for the next 10 days. It may not. But it may. I’d imagine you’d probably go to the grocery store and get a flashlight with some water and other things to get ready for that.
And in the same way, we don’t know what’s going to happen here. Could this be a big problem? Maybe. Could it be a small problem? Maybe. In trauma surgery, we have a saying and I live by this.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. So I applaud the president for having a press conference and for getting on the front side of this and developing a plan. And our campaign released an eight-point plan too.
Leahy: I saw that plan and that’s why we called you up. It’s very interesting and it’s in your wheelhouse. You are a doctor and you know what’s going on here. Let’s look at the facts. As far as I can tell, there are about 85,000 cases reported worldwide.
About 2,000 or so plus deaths. Most of them are in China and have spread to South Korea and Italy. Last I saw there were only 60 reported cases in the United States. About 45 of them have come from Americans who were abroad that were diagnosed, and then brought here and quarantined.
About 15 here in the states. The only one that we can tell that recently in California that was sort of community transmitted. Zero deaths. It sounds to me, tell me if you think this is right. I think the President did exactly the right thing when it started early on when he put a travel ban on travel from China. That sounds like the most effective way of keeping it from spreading. What do you think?
Sethi: Look, I agree. The people to blame for this are the Chinese. And that’s because I believe on December 4th or December 6th, I can’t remember which day. There was a patient that showed up in a Chinese Ophthalmology clinic.
And they were sick. And they had this thing and this Ophthalmologist was really smart, and he picked up on it and figured this all out. And the Chinese government showed up at his door and told him never to talk about it. They threw him in jail.
He’s now dead. So the problem is they sat on this information for six weeks. Meanwhile, you have these Democrats who are trying to impeach our President and essentially shut down the US government.
And once we figured this out the president was quick to act. So I applaud him. And you are right. There are some cases in Brazil and some other places. But in the United States, there have been no fatalities yet. And there are some cases. But I just think we need to prepare. I don’t think the sky is falling. I just think it’s good to have a plan and be ready.
Carmichael: How many people a year Manny die in the US from the flu?
Sethi: You know I’d say it’s about two percent. I can’t remember the number off the top of my head. It’s about a two percent rate for anybody who gets the flu. And with this virus, it’s about five percent.
Again, the flu is very much in the same vein as this COVID-19 in which only really sick people will pass away from it and very young babies and kids. My daughter, about two years ago she got the flu. She was two years old and we were really worried.
Bless the Lord that she got through it all. It was very difficult. Versus I’ve gotten the flu, y’all gotten the flu. Yes, it’s a couple of days that aren’t pleasant but you get through it because your immune system is normal. So that’s the challenge.
Leahy: Dr. Manny, let me pose this hypothetical question. Let’s say you are in the United States Senate today. And the President has asked for 2.5 billion dollars appropriation from Congress to fight the coronavirus and keep it from spreading.
And then Chuck Schumer the Minority Leader comes over and says to you, Dr. Manny, 2.5 billion isn’t enough. The president is just being terribly incompetent. It needs to be $ 6 billion. What do you as a United States senator on the Republican side? What do you say to Chuck Schumer when he says that?
Sethi: First of all, you’ve got to talk to Senator Blackburn sometime. She’s got some great stories about Chuck Schumer. (Leahy laughs) She’s amazing. You’ve just got to ask her. This is the problem right now in our country. I think $2.5 billion is enough. Let’s start there. I’d say, Senator look, don’t be attaching all these poor spending projects by building a bridge to nowhere to this coronavirus issue.
I think $2.5 billion is enough to help build a screening test and help figure out what’s a good drug to combat this. Develop a vaccine. I think that’s plenty of money. We just can’t keep spending like drunken sailors.
Carmichael: Perhaps the way to approach it would be to say I’d be happy to support 6 billion, but whatever we don’t use on the coronavirus Senator Schumer we’ll use to build the wall.
Sethi: (Laughter) I was about to say that! I love that! I love that brother that’s great! (Laughter) But no joke. This does make the case for our immigration policy and what the president is trying to do to secure our borders.
So just think about this. Somebody comes in here illegally with this coronavirus or some other health problem and it could spread like wildfire. That’s why it’s so important that we need to focus on illegal immigration in our country.
Leahy: So just to follow up on that. There was a report the other night that was a cruise ship out there floating around the Caribbean that has seven people identified with the coronavirus. They went to the Dominican Republic, and they said, no, you can’t come in here.
So they call up Mexico, and they say, hey can we come into Mexico. And the president of Mexico Obrador, says, well come on in. It wouldn’t be compassionate if we didn’t let all these people with coronavirus into Mexico.
Well once they’re into Mexico they can just tippy-toe up towards the border and cross our border. Because the wall hasn’t been built yet because the Democrats have stopped it. They can come in and bring the coronavirus into the United States. That’s how it strikes me. What about you?
Sethi: I agree. I totally agree. It’s a really big problem. I think we have to really think about this. Maybe the coronavirus is not the one that’s going to be the biggest deal over time. Maybe it will be, I don’t know. But what if is something like Ebola. That’s why we have to really think about our border security. That’s why on our campaign we’ve been talking about this issue.
Leahy: Yeah. It would seem to me that all of this plays to the president’s advantage and when I look at this press conference I thought he was very much in command, in control, and science-based as well. What’s your take on his press conference?
Sethi: Oh, I thought he was great. He’s a businessman and a disrupter. So he doesn’t look at this problem like the standard government people. He does it his own way. I thought at that press conference he was very calm, cool, and collected. The media is trying to make this like a firestorm and like the sky is falling.
(Sethi holds for next segment)
Listen to the full second hour here:
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