At least 2,900 health workers have died since the pandemic began. Many were minorities with the highest levels of patient contact.
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.
Prince George’s County in Maryland is taking action after a coronavirus outbreak left veteran public health worker Chantee Mack dead and several colleagues with lasting medical problems. But some staffers say more still needs to be done to keep public health workers on the front lines of the COVID fight safe.
A Trump administration maneuver allows executives who are leading the federal effort to keep investments in drug companies that would benefit from the pandemic response.
The University of Virginia promised reforms but has stopped short of announcing them, while hospital giant VCU Health has freed tens of thousands from property liens.
As the nation awaits a vaccine to end the pandemic, local health departments say they lack the staff, money, tools ― and a unified plan ― to distribute, administer and track millions of vaccines, most of which will require two doses. Dozens of doctors, nurses and health officials interviewed by KHN and The Associated Press expressed their concern and frustration over federal shortcomings.
State officials said they urgently needed millions more masks and gowns, internal emails show. At least 80 Georgia health workers have died from COVID-19, including after the state reopened its economy.
The disease intervention specialist at the Prince George’s County Health Department was among at least 20 department employees infected by the coronavirus, union officials say. The outbreak underscores the stark dangers facing the nation’s front-line public health army.
Time and again over the past two decades, peace officers have targeted demonstrators with munitions designed only to stun and stop. Protests this year in reaction to George Floyd’s death in police custody have reignited a controversy surrounding their use.
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.