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Politics takes over public health

Published: 3/18/2020 1:53:37 PM

As a nurse whose practice has focused on public health and geriatrics for over four decades, I feel compelled to write.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis. When public health is working the general population is unaware of the innumerable ways it keeps the public healthy. When there is a crisis, the under-funded public health systems in the United States work relentlessly to minimize risk, preserve lives and support recovery.

Let me point out overlooked facts:

1) Medical-based care in hospitals, physician offices, outpatient clinics and minute clinics is funded by insurance policies.

2) Public health is funded by taxes — local, state and federal. For the past three-plus years, public health funding in the U.S. has been eviscerated.

3) In public health, an Incident Command System has been developed to act in times of crisis.

In today’s COVID-19 pandemic, an effective ICS is paramount. It is the management and organizational tool to ensure competency and consistency. In an ICS structure, the commander/leader must have extensive knowledge in public health science.

To have the president of the U.S. appoint Vice President Mike Pence, who lacks proficiency in public health science, is a travesty. In health care terms it can be considered malpractice.

Please remember these facts as you read or hear about the COVID-19 crisis. In this election year, politics have taken a priority over public health science. Please remember these facts as you vote this year and every year.

Nancy Gilbert


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