In the midst of the COVID pandemic, almost 300 public health leaders have resigned.
According to the Associated Press, Republican lawmakers in almost half of the United States are purposefully limiting the ability of state and public health professionals to deal with contagious diseases in order to appeal to an anti-mask, anti-lockdown constituency.
Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, at least 303 public health officials have retired, resigned, or been fired, according to a study by Kaiser Health News and the Associated Press. Since the beginning of the pandemic, politicians in all 50 states have filed proposals to limit public health authority, according to a KHN examination of legislation.
In other words, during the pandemic, one out of every five Americans has lost a local health leader.
“This is a death blow,” according to Brian Castrucci, CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation, a public health advocacy group.
See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.
Many seasoned public health officials have battled the pandemic without adequate resources while simultaneously being maligned, according to him, and the legislative onslaught is the final straw.
While some governors have vetoed proposals that have passed, at least 26 states have passed laws that permanently undermine the government’s ability to protect public health. An executive order, a voter initiative, or a state Supreme Court judgement restricted long-held public health powers in three more states. More bills are pending in the legislatures of a few states that are still in session.
Mask mandates were outlawed in Arkansas, with the exception of private enterprises and state-run health care facilities, since they were deemed a “tax on the public peace, health, and safety of the inhabitants of this state.”
County commissioners in Idaho, who often lack public health competence, have the power to veto countywide public health decrees.
School boards, not health officials, have the authority to close schools in Kansas and Tennessee.
President Joe Biden announced broad vaccination mandates and other COVID-19 measures last week, claiming that he was forced to act in part due to such legislation.
“My plan also targets elected politicians in states who oppose you and these life-saving measures,” he continued.
According to the findings of the KHN investigation:
Legislators in at least 16 states have limited public health officials’ ability to order mask mandates, quarantines, or isolation. They provided themselves or locally elected officials the power to prevent the spread of contagious disease in some situations.
COVID-19 has been banned in at least 17 states. This is a condensed version of the information.