Public health, long underfunded and neglected, is now flat-out under attack by enraged extremists and lawmakers intent on limiting health officials’ powers, the New York Times concludes after 140 interviews with health authorities and others.
Facing physical threats and intimidation, health officials have installed security cameras, obtained police escorts, and started carrying pepper spray.
- Jennifer Bacani McKenney, a health officer in Kansas, had to warn her children to stay away from windows.
The Quote: “The places where it is most needed to put in more stringent measures, it’s the least possible to do it,” said Allison Berry, a public health officer in Washington state. “Either because you’re afraid you’re going to get fired, or you’re afraid you’re going to get killed. Or both.”
Undermined by the law: At least 32 states have 100+ new laws gutting health officials’ ability to impose mask and vaccine mandates, declare shutdowns, conduct contact tracing. or penalize violations.
And new leaders are being voted in who pledged to “rein in” public health.
- In Idaho, a physician representative to the health board refers to coronavirus vaccinations as “needle rape.”
“We are attacking and removing authority from the people who are trying to protect us,” said Adriane Casalotti of the National Association of County and City Health Officials.
A University of Tennessee at Knoxville survey of nearly 300 public health experts documented how the “pandemic pummeled an already underfunded and understaffed US public health system, straining workers, upending services, and putting patients at risk,” CIDRAP reports.
Rebuilding the nation’s health care workforce during and after Covid-19: Lessons from disaster management – STAT
America Stopped Treating Health-Care Workers Like Heroes – The Atlantic