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Like most of us, Dr. Allen Coffman is sickened by the politicization of the coronavirus.

"It got so political, it was impossible to know what was real and what wasn't," the doctor with Highland Pediatrics in Hixson said Wednesday morning. "So I decided to put on my big-boy pants and see what I could do to help."

Of course, Coffman and all of the medical folks who roll into their offices, hospital emergency departments and the like are doing way more than the rest of us already. They are the frontline troops choosing to gear up and fight the enemy hand-to-hand as the rest of us isolate and distance.

But that was not enough for Coffman.

"It felt like every patient I saw, we spent the last 10 minutes discussing what's next and what's safe," he said. "This scenario or that instance, about church or summer camps or whether we can hug grandma. I guess that's how it started."

"It" began Tuesday as an online interaction on the Highland Pediatrics Facebook page.

Questions rolled in and Coffman and Co. delivered answers. Real-time conversations from experts about things related to COVID-19 delivered in reassuring tones. It was, simply put, simple.

And so important.

"There has been a real lack of trusted information out there from good sources, and that's the void we tried to fill," Dr. Coffman said. "We want to have pragmatic conversations about the COVID topics that people are truly worried about. There were so many really good questions."

The Facebook start took the next step rather quickly. "Calling Dr. Coffman" was a YouTube Q&A with local TV personality Alison Lebovitz on Wednesday afternoon.

"Alison is a friend, and we were talking about normal people getting good information about their situations," Dr. Coffman said. "We want it to be short and easy to consume and have 15 or so minutes of audience input.

"In a lot of ways, I hope it will be like the weather report, and people find out if they need an umbrella. People watch the weather for information that affects them, not to try to understand meteorology."

Anything that helps ease people's worries in this uncertain time certainly is welcome, big-boy pants or not.

"My best practical advice is to be nice to everyone, because this is hard," Dr. Coffman said. "Whether it's personal or health-related or job-related or spending too much time with family or not being able to finish school, this is a hard time that really impacts all of us."

And we need trustworthy answers now more than ever.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com and follow him on Twitter at @jgreesontfp.

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Jay Greeson
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