March 20, 2020

The Honorable Congressman Lloyd Doggett Chairman of Ways & Means Health Subcommittee Washington, DC Office
2307 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Honorable Chairman Doggett:

On behalf our General President Dr. Everett B. Ward, we greet you in o the name of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Approximately six weeks ago, our General President organized our COVID- 19 Fraternal Task Force (members listed below) to provide competent information throughout our communities. As a result of your outstanding service, our General President offers the full public health capacity of our national task force to support your efforts in the social and clinical epidemiologic control of this virus. Below are some of our major concerns that we hope will be helpful in our prevention and eradication efforts against COVID-19 virus.

Effects of Erroneous Health Information on N95 Mask Protection Capacities for Healthcare Providers and Vulnerable People

– According to Zhu et al. (2020), the size of COVID-19 is .06 to 1.4 microns which is smaller than the capacities of most N95 surgical masks (.3 microns and above) provided to health professionals and vulnerable groups (Bunyan et al., 2013). The ability of this virus to remain airborne for 3 hours coupled with the limited capacities of most N95 surgical masks leave some health care workers as well as vulnerable groups with ineffective protection. In addition, these masks could lead to some health care workers inadvertently becoming vehicles of transmission for the virus.

Lack of Public Health Knowledge on COVID-19 Surface Contamination among African American and Vulnerable Citizens with Multi-Family Households

– Contact with contaminated surfaces is one of the ways in which COVID-19 is spread. According to a new and unpublished study supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (van Doremalen et al., 2020), COVID-19 has a surface stability of 4 hours to 3 days (4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel). Because African Americans tend to have larger households and lower income levels compared to White Americans (United States Census, 2016), we hypothesize that thousands of our younger household members who are COVID-19 positive, but healthy and asymptomatic will expose their more vulnerable family members to COVID-19 in their homes through direct and indirect transmission (refrigerator handles, light switches, doorknobs, towels, etc.). This is applicable to our senior church members also. The most effective way to stop the transmission of COVID-19 on surfaces is to disinfect the surface using a solution of bleach and water (Robinson et al, 2019).

Potential Medical Ethics Violations Related to the Inclusion and Exclusion of Woman and Minority Group Participation in COVID-19 Clinical Trials

-Although it has been over 15 years since the passing of the NIH Revitalization Act, women and minorities are still underrepresented in clinical trials (Ma et al. 2018). This is of great concern because gene tissues are expressed differently by race, gender, and age (Sweeney, 2014; Kim et al., 2010; Mansukhani et al. 2016). Because of differences in gene expression, we need to ensure the COVID19 experiments are ethically randomized by race, age, and the inclusion of women. Also, due to the NIH’s history of cruel and unethical experimentation on sick African Americans, (Thomas & Quinn, 1991) during which subjects were immorally given placebos in control groups when efficacious treatments were available, we need to ensure people from all socio-demographic groups are aggressively recruited to participate in all NIH funded COVID-19 clinical trials.

Unidentified Efficacy of Airlines Modification to HEPA Grade Filters

– Over the past week, many citizens have received communications from their airline carriers stating they are adding HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters to all of their airplanes. Based on HEPA standards (.3 microns) and the aforementioned size of COVID-19, a strong possibility exists that not only airlines but other transportation companies are not accurately portraying the true susceptibility their patrons may face should they make use of their services (Elias & Bar-Yam, 2020). ULPA (Ultra-Low Penetration Air) filters would be much more appropriate to use in transportation systems rather than HEPA filters given their increased efficacy in protecting commuters from 99.99% of airborne particles.

Implication of Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act on African American Seniors and Vulnerable Populations

– On March 13th 2020 President Donald Trump enacted the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Bea, 2010). The major criticisms of the Stafford Act stem from its meager language to protect children, the elderly, immigrants, and homeless people. Because of the hygiene issues experienced by homeless Americans as well as undocumented immigrants and their lower accessibility to health care, we hypothesize that these groups will not only suffer most but will become major carriers of COVID-19. The Stafford Act was last operationalized by President George W. Bush during Hurricane Katina. During this tragedy, African American female senior citizens incurred the highest hurricane-related mortality rate (Brunkard et al .2008).

Along with the other risks call, we feel these issues are mutually important to the communities we serve. Thank you so much for reading this letter and we thank you for your service to all humankind.


Brothers Ronald “Pepper” Peters, Jr and Duane Dyson Co-Chairmen, COVID-19 Presidential Task Force

CC: Everett Ward Greg Phillips


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Ways & Means Health Subcommittee Members

COVID-19 Task Force Members

Brothers Drs. Duane Dyson and Ronald “Pepper” Peters, Jr., Co-Chairmen Brother Dr. Clifford Houston, Chairman Emeritus

1. William J. Bennett, MD, PhD – Pathologist, George Washington University School of Medicine, Novocure, Inc., Atlanta, GA

  1. Charles Alvin Cook, MD, MPH – Internal Medicine and Nephrology, Raleigh Associated Medical Specialists, Raleigh, NC
  2. Brother Duane Dyson, MD – Owner, Dyson Pediatrics of Tucson, AZ
  3. Brother Clifford Houston, PhD, MS – First African American elected as president of the

    American Society for Microbiology; Former Member, U.S Department of Health and Human

    Services, National Advisory Board for Bio-Security, Galveston, TX

  4. Brother Joseph Gambrell, MD – Retired Pediatrician, Kaiser Foundation Hospital, Bellflower,


  5. Napoleon B. Higgins, Jr., MD, Psychiatrist, CEO and President of Bay Pointe Behavioral

    Health Service, Inc., and South East Houston Research Group, Inc. Houston, TX

  6. Brother Lane Knight DDS – Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Southern Maryland Oral &

    Maxillofacial Surgery, Waldorf, MD

  7. Brother Kelvin A. Moses, MD, PhD – Associate Professor of Urology, Vanderbilt University

    Medical Center, Nashville, TN

  8. Brother Otha Myles, MD, Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine, Otha Myles &

    Associates, LLC, Saint Louis, MO

10. Brother Ronald “Pepper” Peters, Jr. DrPH, MS – Retired Associate Professor of Health

Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston,

11. Brother Richard D. Smith, MD – Lead Partner, St. Francis Primary Care Clinic – Smith Medical

Office, Monroe, LA
12. Brother Covia L. Stanley, MD – Former Regional Health Director, Region 6, South Carolina

Department of Health & Environmental Control; Former Health Director, City of Richmond,

VA, Conway, SC
13 Brother Leonce H. Thierry, Jr., Jr., MS, MT (ASCP), CHES – Clinical Assistant Professor of

Clinical Laboratory Services, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX