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Saturday, June 20, 2020

Attacks on Public Health Officers

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread  And among those diseases could be COVID-19.

Barbara Feder Ostrov at LAist:
Leigh Dundas angrily wagged her finger at Orange County supervisors at their board meeting last month as she ticked off what she thought were damning details about the professional background of county health officer Nichole Quick. The anti-vaccination attorney named Quick's boyfriend and disclosed her home address, saying she was going to bring protesters in masks to do calisthenics on her front doorstep until they passed out.
"She needs to be fired," Dundas declared.
It was a strikingly personal attack on Quick, who had vexed many local officials and residents alike with her recent order requiring that people wear masks when in public to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The county sheriff provided her with a security detail even as he said he would not enforce the mask order. Finally, under pressure from both county supervisors and the public, Quick resigned last week, the third high-level Orange County health official to do so during the pandemic. And Orange County reversed her mask order.
Local public health officers haven't been this important in a century. They're also being second-guessed, harassed and threatened by residents, and sometimes local leaders, angry about pandemic shutdowns. Some have simply quit.
Melody Gutierrez at LAT:

For months, anti-vaccine activists have joined protests against coronavirus restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of infection. Now this unusual alliance is taking direct aim at the county officials issuing these orders.
On Sunday and then Tuesday, they livestreamed protests against [Contra Costa County health officer Chris] Farnitano, which came days after Orange County’s chief health officer resigned amid intense pushback against her countywide mask order and threats against her that prompted a security detail.
Online, mask protesters say their calls for similar rallies outside the homes of public health officers are gaining traction. For many, it’s raising alarms. Calling the protests an act of intimidation, Kat DeBurgh of the Health Officers Assn. of California said she’s worried. Seven local health officials have announced they are leaving their posts, some of which were previously planned retirements, DeBurgh said.