That development is accelerating, and it’s not simply the pandemic as a pure catastrophe. It’s particularly due to Donald Trump’s politicization of primary public well being measures, which has turned the underpaid employees attempting to guard the general public into targets. Throughout the 9 months of the pandemic, at the least 181 state or native public well being leaders have left their jobs—whether or not they resigned, retired, or have been fired. That features 20 high state officers. It doesn’t embrace lower-level staffers who’re important to executing issues like COVID-19 testing and phone tracing.
In some instances, public well being leaders have resigned after their efforts have been undercut by state or native governments. “You worth the stress from folks with particular financial pursuits greater than science and good public well being observe,” Shawnee County, Kansas, well being officer Dr. Gianfranco Pezzino wrote to county commissioners after they loosened restrictions. “In full conscience I can’t proceed to function the well being officer for a board that places having the ability to patronize bars and sports activities venues in entrance of the well being, lives and well-being of a majority of its constituents.”
Public well being officers—lots of whom, in Republican areas, are themselves Republicans—have additionally confronted the violent protesters who’ve been egged on by Trump, with loud shows meant to intimidate them outdoors their places of work and houses.
In at the least one case, the resistance to security has hit even nearer to residence. The AP/KHN investigators interviewed Linn County, Kansas, public well being administrator Tisha Coleman, who has begged folks in her group to put on masks and take different precautions. Not solely has she been attacked—even known as a Democrat, a severe insult in her group—however her husband refuses to require prospects to put on masks in his ironmongery shop. It will get worse, although: Coleman’s husband refuses to take that step regardless of her mom’s latest loss of life from COVID-19.
That is Donald Trump’s United States of America in a nutshell.