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Unacceptable Intimidation of Ohio Director of Public health during COVID-19 Pandemic.

As a physician, I am appalled at the new developments which are so intimidatory in nature towards Dr. Amy Acton, the Ohio director of public health. Being a forensic pathologist, I am always looking at effective prevention measures which can reduce the number of unnecessary deaths in the community. Dr. Actons quick decisive actions towards the pandemic in March have saved your life and the lives of countless other Ohio residents.

Her education in medicine includes a residency in pediatrics and preventive medicine as well as a masters in public health. She is the first woman director of Ohio public health who was the last cabinet post picked by Governor Dewine in 2019. We should all be so grateful that we have a knowledgeable director of public health who actually knows how to handle a pandemic. Her actions and decisions on handling the Coronarvirus pandemic have been exceptional and they continue to be an example to follow. Let’s not restrict her now.

She had the foresight to know how COVID-19 is likely to play out. On March 9th a state of emergency was declared with only three detected cases in Cuyahoga county. Ohio was one of the states to close down the schools and large gatherings by March 12, 2020.

Dr. Acton actions included advising the Governor on closure of schools, universities, businesses, gathering of more than 100 people and supposedly ‘radical’ extension of primary voting. She recommended and then instituted that we all stay at home until May 1st, unless we worked in the essential sector. However it is also important to remember that Governor Dewine listened to her and accepted her recommendations. After all it is the Governor who set the policy in place.

Extension of stay at home orders after May 1st, however have been a point of contention. Currently as of 5/7/2020 Ohio has about 21500 cases and 1225 fatalities, Right now as of May 1 we are increasing approximately at 500- 700 cases diagnosed per day. This is far less than projected cases of 10000 per day early on in the pandemic in Ohio. We reduced to 1600 cases per day mid April. We have not quite plateaued yet and we have definitely not reduced as much as we would like to. This reduction has helped our hospitals not get overwhelmed with patients so much so that they would have had to triage treatment and saving lives based on age like they did in Italy. Ideal number would be zero cases per day. That will take time so for now lets do our part of following the advice set forth by Ohio department of health so they can plan the opening of our communities in a regulated way.

In Ohio, the best way to deal with our displeasure at Dr. Actons actions has been to attack the source both from the community and political groups.

Some individuals in our society have felt that holding protests in front of her residence is going to help her efficiently navigate this pandemic. It is their constitutional right but at what cost. How will they answer to the family of that person who dies because of the distractions being caused to both Dr. Acton and Governor Dewine by these protests. Let’s not confuse the issues of public health.

Some politicians mainly the House Republicans apparently feel that they want more say and want to make sure that the public health director’s power is reduced. Fortunately the Director has never really had to use the power to quarantine which was established 1886. But doing so now was perfectly in her realm of duties and it is just as well because the politicians are not physicians and yes they really can’t understand the gravity of this pandemic.

These two developments are very concerning indeed. Instead of focusing our energies to fight the pandemic, give food to the needy, helping each other, trying to come together in our fight against the virus, giving strength to each other in these such difficult times some of us choose intimidation.

It is a different world now where all of us have to come together. Let’s not be destructive to each other.

There is already so much stress. Believe me Dr. Amy Acton has been the best thing that happened to Ohio during this pandemic. She has been guiding us, staying strong for us and continues to inform us on the pandemic. We have no immunity, we have no vaccines,no good treatment and not even enough tests for all the people who should be tested. These are the some of the reasons stay at home orders were extended. The agencies, laboratories, physicians, immunologists are working in overdrive to get us the vaccines, treatments and yes enough tests. But unfortunately we are not quite there yet. We need a little bit of an edge to take control over the pandemic. So until then lets try to stick together. Lets definitely not relegate our future generations to major public health blunders by reducing the powers of our director of health. Let’s all be supportive and focus our energies on finding solutions to fight this pandemic.

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