Anna Maria Barry-Jester

‘We’re Coming for You’: For Public Health Officials, a Year of Threats and Menace

KHN Original

Local health officials have become the face of government authority as they work to stem the pandemic. That has made them targets for chilling threats from some of the same militia groups that stormed the U.S. Capitol. Santa Cruz leaders are among those whose daily routines now incorporate security patrols, surveillance cameras and, in some cases, firearms.

Pandemic Backlash Jeopardizes Public Health Powers, Leaders

KHN Original

At least 181 public health leaders in 38 states have resigned, retired or been fired amid the turmoil of the pandemic. The departures come as backlash against public health is rising with threats to officials’ personal safety and legislative and legal efforts to strip their governmental public health powers.

As Broad Shutdowns Return, Weary Californians Ask ‘Is This the Best We Can Do?’

KHN Original

California’s ping-ponging approach to managing the pandemic — twice reopening large portions of the service sector economy only to shut them again — has residents and business owners on edge. But experts say the push and pull on businesses may be what success looks like in much of the U.S. for months to come, given COVID-19’s pervasive spread.

Hollowed-Out Public Health System Faces More Cuts Amid Virus

KHN Original

The U.S. public health system has been starved for decades and lacks the resources necessary to confront the worst health crisis in a century. An investigation by The Associated Press and KHN has found that since 2010, spending for state public health departments has dropped by 16% per capita and for local health departments by 18%. At least 38,000 public health jobs have disappeared, leaving a skeletal workforce for what was once viewed as one of the world’s top public health systems. That has left the nation unprepared to deal with a virus that has sickened at least 2.6 million people and killed more than 126,000.