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Texas A&M-Texarkana Virus Expert Fights Ignorance About Coronavirus

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

That’s why Dr. Benjamin Neuman, head of Texas A&M University-Texarkana’s biology department, has been so busy lately trying to answer questions from journalists around the world, as well as children. Both are liking 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 a 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, but his expertise also 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. 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 prepare, 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 forwarding planning. I think that’s where the A&M System and scientists come in. That’s what we do.”

The show will air 7:00 pm 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 beginning Thursday evening on the website of The Texas A&M University System’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=394CtP1SAIw&feature=emb_logo.

It 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.