In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic nearly 50 public health leaders have been fired or resigned since April, mostly over mask ordinance disputes
At least 49 public health officials have either resigned or been fired during the coronavirus pandemic, the Associated Press reported. Many attributed a politicized response to the pandemic such as disputes over mask ordinances and being overworked as a reason for their departure. Some stepped down due to criticism that they didn't handle the pandemic response properly. Experts told the AP that this only means a less cohesive response to the pandemic moving forward. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
At least 49 public health officials in 23 states have either resigned or been fired since April in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Associated Press reported. According to the AP disputes over mask ordinances and a politicized response to the pandemic led to most of the resignations and firings. The latest official to resign is Sonia Angell, California's now-former public health director, The Independent reported. Angell stepped down after a glitch caused the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange to be backlogged by 30,000 records and causing coronavirus cases to be underreported. According to the AP, that system is used to make decisions about the reopening of businesses and schools in the state. New York City's health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot also resigned last week, WHTC reported. Barbot stepped down because she felt the health department expertise wasn't "used to the degree it could have been." Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the AP that these public health leaders are stepping down because of a mixture of factors including burnout, and attacks on public health officials from high ranking government officials including President Donald Trump. "The overall tone toward public health in the US is so hostile that it has kind of emboldened people to make these attacks," Frieden said. Some officials have even received death threats and Ohio's state health director, Dr. Amy Acton, stepped down after armed protesters showed up at her house. While some officials stepped down for family-related reasons, to take other jobs, or because they were criticized for poor decisions, others said they stepped down because they were "overworked, underpaid, unappreciated, or thrust into a pressure-cooker environment," the AP reported. "To me, a lot of the divisiveness and the stress and the resignations that are happening right and left are the consequence of the lack of a real national response plan," Dr. Matt Willis, health officer for Marin County in Northern California, told the AP. "And we're all left scrambling at the local and state level to extract resources and improvise solutions ... in a fractured health care system, in an under-resourced public health system." Theresa Anselmo of the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials told the AP, that the departure of public health officials from their positions would only make the fight to contain the virus harder. "It will certainly slow down the pandemic response and become less coordinated," she told the AP. "Who's going to want to take on this career if you're confronted with the kinds of political issues that are coming up?" The US currently has over 5 million coronavirus cases and recorded more than 163,000 deaths. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
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Health officials worldwide are receiving death threats because of their work to educate the public and stop the spread of COVID-19
Summary List Placement Around the world, health officials are facing death threats as they attempt to...Summary List Placement Around the world, health officials are facing death threats as they attempt to advise their respective population on ways to reduced or contain the spread of the coronavirus. Last month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top-infectious disease expert, said he received death threats because of the "political tone" of the virus. Fauci has advised for social distancing measures, expanded testing, and contact tracing, among other efforts to quell the spread of the coronavirus in the US. His advice has sometimes gone against statements made by President Donald Trump. In Australia, Queensland's chief health officer, Jeannette Young also faced threats, The Australian reported. Young now has police stationed outside her house after she closed Queensland borders with neighboring states, which prevented some residents from attending funerals of loved ones. The move was made in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. In Germany, experts like Karl Lauterbach and Christian Drosten also said their received death threats after the country imposed a shutdown and closed schools in the spring, The Washington Post reported. Anders Tegnell, the "architect" behind Sweden's relaxed coronavirus approach, reported to police he and his family faced death threats. Earlier this summer, The National Association of County and City Health Officials reported that at least 24 public health officials in the US either quit, left, or retired from their positions in the months since the pandemic began in January 2020. "Across the country, in red states and blue states, large metropolitan areas and rural communities, public health department officials and staff have been physically threatened and politically scapegoated," the organization wrote in a statement. "Too many have lost their jobs for trying to protect and defend the health of their community in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic," the organization said. "Many others have stepped down, interrupting their careers, to protect themselves and their loved ones from actual or perceived threats." In Kentucky, one county stopped providing coronavirus information after receiving negative comments and a death threat. Grayson County health officials stopped giving updates on social media because the comments were impacting their mental health, WDRB reported. They resumed two weeks after the threats, and told the outlet they began blocking people to avoid "toxic" information. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
Peter Marks, the director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research,...Peter Marks, the director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said he would resign if the agency pushed out an unproven coronavirus vaccine. The FDA is under immense pressure to release a vaccine, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to rise, and as President Donald Trump urges health officials to act speedily. "You have to decide where your red line is, and that's my red line," Marks said. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. A high-level official within the Food and Drug Administration threatened to resign if the agency green-lights an unproven coronavirus vaccine. In a statement to Reuters, Peter Marks, the director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said he "would feel obligated" to step down from his role if the agency approves a dubious vaccine. "In doing so," Marks said, "I would indicate to the American public that there's something wrong." In his role, Marks oversees a team of experts who are responsible for identifying potential coronavirus treatments, the Washington Post reported. Historically, FDA officials like Marks have the final say on medical items issued out to the public. If this trend holds, Marks will be the determining figure on when a vaccine will be released, according to the Post. The FDA did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment. There is mounting pressure to secure a vaccine for the coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases continues to climb worldwide. More than 5.5 million people have contracted the virus in the United States, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Of that sum, more than 174,000 Americans have died from it. President Donald Trump has been urging health officials to work faster to approve a vaccine and said it was possible that one would be available before the November 3 election. Most health experts say it's unlikely that a vaccine could be proven safe that soon. Trump's eagerness to put out a vaccine comes as lawmakers remain critical of him for his response to the coronavirus pandemic. Perhaps more importantly, voters who will take to the polls in November to determine whether he gets re-elected have also indicated they're not satisfied with the way he's handled the pandemic. Only 35% of voters said they approved of his response in a July Quinnipiac University poll. That figure is compared with the overwhelming 62% who said they didn't. Adding on to the pressure, Russia in July announced the release of what President Vladimir Putin has called the first coronavirus vaccine in the world. But the pressure isn't enough to drive officials to put out a vaccine just yet. "You have to decide where your red line is, and that's my red line," Marks said in the statement, adding that he "could not stand by and see something that was unsafe or ineffective that was being put through." Still, scientists and health officials have concerns that the quickly approaching November election will only encourage Trump to double down on the pressure, Reuters reported. The federal government is testing possible treatments, but a vaccine is not likely to be approved before the election, health officials have said. The government hopes to release a proven vaccine by January 2021, Reuters reported, citing Michael Caputo, assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Epidemiologists debunk 13 coronavirus myths
The Trump administration is ordering schools on Native American reservations to reopen. California’s chief health officer...The Trump administration is ordering schools on Native American reservations to reopen. California’s chief health officer has resigned. The pandemic has now sickened more than 20 million people, according to a Times database.