Letter: Public health officials unfairly attacked, punished

Letter: Public health officials unfairly attacked, punished

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Wearing personal protective equipment, Registered Nurse April Bandi cares for a patient that has possible COVID-19 symptoms inside a special negative pressure isolation room at the Emergency Department at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego on April 10, 2020.

Wearing personal protective equipment, Registered Nurse April Bandi cares for a patient that has possible COVID-19 symptoms inside a special negative pressure isolation room at the Emergency Department at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego on April 10, 2020. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

I have been following news and current affairs for close to 50 years, so, while I often get outraged, I am seldom shocked. After reading “Amid threats and political pushback, public health workers are leaving posts (June 22),” I am outraged, shocked and disturbed. This is my profession and I know how hard public health professionals work, usually behind the scenes and doing work that most people take for granted. Do the picketers who are threatening health officials know that these are the same people who ensure safe drinking water, clean air, pest control, well babies and mothers, and, yes, infectious disease control. Long before COVID-19, public health helped to control the spread of tuberculosis, HIV, polio, smallpox, influenza and childhood diseases. It’s a long list. Now, because somehow personal liberty and science denial have become conflated, decent people are punished and threatened for doing their jobs.

I am also a nurse, and I appreciate the recent outpouring of support for workers caring for those suffering from this terrible illness. If you support nurses and doctors, then public health professionals deserve equal appreciation. Isn’t trying to prevent an infection from spreading worth a nod and not a curse? To me, it is beyond reason that workers so vital to our well-being are being driven from their jobs. Partisan divisions have gone too far. Controlling this disease is not political, it is critical.

Catherine Nolan • St. Louis

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