We live is a topsy-turvy age where facts are fake, lies are truth and science is Deep State conspiracy. Statehouse occupiers armed with assault rifles are “very good people” and unarmed peaceful protesters are “terrorists.” In the words of George Orwell,
War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.
In this day and age, scientists and health officials find themselves vilified, harassed and sometimes physically threatened for trying to protect the public. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was assigned a security detail of special agents after becoming the target of right-wing conspiracy theorists.
Ohio’s Dr. Fauci has been Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). She, too, has been under attack and resigned her post this week as a result. It’s a deep shame. She was one of the good ones.
Exemplary Response to Coronavirus
Dr. Acton called Governor Mike DeWine’s attention early on to the Coronavirus threat. DeWine and Acton began daily press briefings about March 1 to advise the public of the threat. Governor DeWine, acting on guidance from Dr. Acton, enacted policies making Ohio a leader in early protective intervention.
And it’s paid off. According to data from John Hopkins, Ohio ranks 11th (counting Puerto Rico) in states’ handling of the pandemic. In this case low is good — low in confirmed cases and low in deaths.
Unquestionably, thousands of lives have been saved. There’s also no question this accomplishment has caused immense pain for a lot of people that are now unemployed as a result. I’ve written here about this. Life sometimes forces terrible choices upon us, and this has been such a time. But had DeWine not followed Acton’s guidance and allowed Ohio to continue with business as usual, we could have been another New York City.
As it is, with a presumably cautious nationwide reopening now in progress, NBC reported this morning that 14 states are seeing a 25% increase in COVID cases. Arizona is leading the pack with a 93% spike in just the past week — all while Arizona Governor Doug “leads” by example rarely wearing a mask. CNBC is also reminding us this is still the first wave. We’ve haven’t gotten to the second wave yet.
Ohio is not among those states seeing an uptick — yet. It’s probably likely, though, given reopening, Memorial Day festivities where social distancing probably suffered, and the protests following George Floyd’s death. The protests have been necessary, but there will be a cost.
Future risk notwithstanding, Ohio’s status thus far, however, is directly attributable to the exemplary work of Dr. Acton and her staff — and to Governor DeWine for listening.
Dr. Acton Attacked & Driven from Office
for Protecting the Public
For all her work to save lives, Dr. Acton has been set upon by people who give every indication they belief science is a sinister plot against America’s greatness. Protesters have invaded her front yard with signs proclaiming “Dr. Amy is Killing Ohio!!” The Washington Post reported that one Republican State Representative called her a “medical dictator.”
In early May, Republicans in the Ohio Senate moved to limit the power of Dr. Acton and Governor DeWine to issue orders protecting the pubic. State Senate Bill 1 attempted to limit orders issued by Dr. Acton to 14 days with legislative approval required for extensions. State Senate Bill 55 attempted to lower the penalties for violating orders.
DeWine, a Republican himself, pledged to veto the bills and the effort failed.
Although DeWine steadfastly defended Acton and particularly condemned the protests at her home — “Protest me,” he said. “I set the policy.” — it appears to have been too much for a civil servant dedicated to science and health, not political warfare. Dr. Acton submitted her resignation this week.
This is an incalculable loss for Ohio and everyone, possibly even for those who opposed Acton. The virus is an equal-opportunity infector.
Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton made the announcement at their regular press briefing concerning COVID-19 on Thursday, June 11.
These are a few of the news reports.
Title image: Screen grab from WEWS Channel 5 Cleveland.
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