Public Health workers protect children and dogs, politicians, prostitutes, and pedophiles, Neo-Nazis and Communists, hairdressers and code breakers, kleptomaniacs and corn syrup makers, bakers, butchers, jewelers and jewel thieves, comedians and criminals. Their job is to keep us healthy, live longer, feel well.
So why are so many receiving death threats? https://www.dispatch.com/news/20200611/dr-amy-acton-resigns-as-state-health-director-democrats-cite-criticism-from-gop-lawmakers
Dr. Amy Acton, the admired chief of public health of the State of Ohio, resigned two weeks ago after elected officials hurled anti-semitic slurs at her, as did armed individuals adding death threats while standing on her front lawn.
Dr. Nichole Quick, public health officer of Orange County, California, resigned after numerous death threats. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-06-09/orange-county-public-health-officer-resigns-amid-controversy-over-face-coverings
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, public health officer of LA County, came home to discover her children had watched death threats transmitted while she spoke on Facebook explaining actions to control the Covid-19 epidemic.
At least two dozen public health officials, who normally obtain as much attention as sanitation technicians, have been assaulted and threatenedhttps://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/22/us/coronavirus-health-officials.html. Why do we assault and threaten to kill the people who work to keep us alive?
Hear Their Voice
If you want to know, please watch a brief video of witnesses before the commissioners of Palm Beach County, Florida, as reported on BBC. Public health measures are “the work of devils.” Doctors who attempt to protect the public are “committing war crimes.” One person in uniform tells the commissioners “They want to throw God’s wonderful breathing system out!” https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-53174415/they-want-to-throw-god-s-wonderful-breathing-system-out
As many foreign commentators have commented, WTF is going on in America? https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-06-24/how-the-world-views-the-u-s-virus-response?sref=lWBkwdXC
Why are some trying to foment a Civil War over wearing masks? https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-rest/202005/mask-or-not-mask-is-the-question Why are we helping the virus spread by turning routine public health actions into political war?
We can start at the top. A president who told everyone that injecting themselves with Lysol and blasting their skin with UV light would kill Covid-19 is not a worthy source of public health information. Nor is a vice-president who has declared “victory” over the virus.
You’re not “winning the war” with 36,000 new daily cases. Nor when a thousand die each day.
And not from many leaders who proclaim a nasty, false dichotomy between staying alive and “helping” the economy.
Public Health Is The Economy
Plagues are bad for business. People don’t like to spend a lot unless they feel safe. They wish first to believe there’s a decent future for themselves and their families.
Folks don’t want to go to the movies if they think they’ll get sick watching the Avengers save the Earth from aliens. They won’t go to the gym if they might bring back an infection that can kill Grandma. They won’t get on a plane to rebreathe virus filled air and land in New York for a two-week quarantine.
Most countries have figured out you don’t have much of an economy without public health. A healthy economy requires a healthy population. A healthy population requires a healthy environment.
Why not America?
Recently a patient read to me a statement by a local Sarasota County Commissioner, explaining that concern about the recent uptick in Covid-19 cases was “overblown.” The whole county had only 24 Covid-19 cases in ICU. Public health measures were to make sure the health care system was not overwhelmed. This new wave is “no big deal.”
Why do some leaders continue to believe they can jawbone the virus into submission? The virus will reciprocate, infecting and killing more https://regenerationhealthnews.com/sleep/interview-with-the-virus/.
And help kill the local economy. Will tourists flock to an “epidemic hotspot?” Will high priced real estate surge in price as epidemic cases surge? Will restaurants fill with patrons wondering if their server is infected?
Does this local leader understand the epidemics are exponential, that with a reproductive rate of 3, which Covid-19 quickly gets to, you infect 14 million people within 15 contact iterations? Is he proud that his county has a death rate of 9.2% of cases, that nearly one of out ten contracting the disease dies? Has he helped set up tracing and tracking and quarantining, which allows countries like Taiwan to get back to near normal while having one-twelfth as many deaths among 24 million people as Sarasota has had in 430,00? In the months we’ve had to establish the infrastructure for tracing and tracking, needed to selectively act to keep the economy going, what has he accomplished to save our lives?
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author “The Black Swan”, is an expert on disasters. He noted in February that epidemics spread exponentially, so you “panic early.”
Most American leaders did not listen.
Now he’s noted through statistical analyses, forthcoming in Nature Physics, that epidemics have potential “fat tails,” where they can lead to more deaths and mayhem than generally expected.
This is true because bad events lead to more bad events. Epidemics lead to crashed hopes and economies, which leave people out of work and often hungry, unable to pay the rent, obtain vaccinations and necessary health care, expanding political and social turmoil.
Public health people save your lives. You need to help save them. For decades they’ve watched their budgets slashed as politicians thought their efforts an unnecessary indulgence, not noticing that vaccination, sanitation, nutrition, and education had doubled people’s lifespans. Now the same neglected public servants face death threats for doing their jobs.
Like doctors, public health people often tell you things you don’t want to hear. They don’t get everything right. To stay alive, you still need to listen.
And make sure they’ll willing to work to save you, despite abuse, assaults, and death threats.
It’s time to lose tolerance for leaders who help get you killed.