Sunday, December 13, 2020

'I became a lightning rod': Wisconsin health officers have been vilified and threatened during COVID-19, and some have quit

From JSOnline:

Madeline Heim, and Mary Spicuzza, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

As the coronavirus pandemic was first hitting Wisconsin in early spring, Tim Lawther issued a press release he hoped would help his community understand the risk of contracting the disease.

It compared the possibility of getting the virus in several settings, said Lawther, who was then the health officer for Sauk County, home to the Wisconsin Dells.

For example, a person is more likely to get infected while dining at an indoor restaurant than sitting at an outdoor playground, because of air flow and the ability to wear a mask.

Within the hour, he started getting calls from members of the Sauk County Board of Supervisors.

Voices raised, they gave him "as close to a demand as you can get" to retract the release, he said, arguing that it wasn't appropriate for a public health official to discuss the risk of visiting some businesses over others.

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