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Texas A&M-Texarkana expert fights ignorance about coronavirus

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Dr. Benjamin Neuman answers questions from journalists – and children – from around the world

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Texas Border Business

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The coronavirus behind the current pandemic is scary, but ignorance about it is even scarier.

That’s why Dr. Benjamin Neuman, head of the biology department at Texas A&M University-Texarkana, has been so busy lately trying to answer questions from journalists around the world, as well children.

Both like Dr. Neuman’s reassuring style of explaining complicated things simply.

“People are just trying to understand a new, unfamiliar kind of scary thing,” Dr. Neuman said. “I think context is what really makes a scary thing less scary. When we understand what’s going on and why everything is happening, all of the sudden it makes sense.”

Journalists seek out Dr. Neuman as one of the world’s preeminent coronavirus researchers. Not only has he grown more SARS virus in the lab than anyone alive, his expertise earned him a seat on the international committee that named SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic.

In March, Dr. Neuman started taking questions from kids around the world on his “Dr. Ben Neuman’s Science Group on Facebook.” The group quickly exploded with thousands of followers.

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Now, Dr. Neuman answers some questions from John Sharp, Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, in an exclusive 30-minute interview.

“We need to be prepared, SARS is not going to be a one-time thing,” Dr. Neuman tells Chancellor Sharp. “We can get rid of this virus, but it’s going to be whack-a-mole from here on out and so we need a better strategy. We need a little bit of forward planning. I think that’s where the A&M System and scientists come in. That’s what we do.”

The show will air 7 p.m. Thursday on KAMU-TV in College Station and on other Texas public television affiliates. (Check your local listing in Austin, Dallas, Waco and Amarillo.) The show also will be available on The Texas A&M University System’s YouTube channel: 

This is the third in a series of television shows hosted by Chancellor Sharp to educate Texans on the implications of COVID-19. He will be interviewing scientists, researchers and other leading experts from the Texas A&M System who are helping Texas and the nation respond to the pandemic.

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

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