NCL statement condemning threats to public health officials

June 25, 2020

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League (NCL) is deeply concerned with the rise in harassment and threats to public health leaders across the country in response to the nationwide shutdowns due to COVID-19. 

Public health leaders are being subjected to pressure following guidelines regarding social distancing and face mask usage. Critics of these guidelines have politicized preventive health measures due to perceived disruptions in personal liberties. They have resorted to “doxxing” public health officials—a practice that involves revealing someone’s private information, such as place of employment and residential address, publicly over the Internet. Other intimidation tactics that have been employed include protesting outside of health officials’ homes to incite fear. 

These tactics have created hostile work environments for public health officials, leading to 27 resignations or request of reassignments across 13 states—in the interest of personal safety. Public health workers also fear that these actions could potentially have a negative effect on recruiting people into pursuing careers in the public health field.

“Public health departments are already underfunded and understaffed, and in the midst of this pandemic, we need our full arsenal of public health experts on the front lines,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “We cannot afford to lose any personnel in this space at this time. The U.S. is already behind regarding testing and other preventive measures. We need to let public health workers do their jobs to keep us safe, informed, and empowered regarding our health.

“NCL unequivocally condemns the threats placed against our public health workers. We rely on these individuals to keep us healthy, and we need them now more than ever. All they ask from us in return in our cooperation in flattening the curve.”

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About the National Consumers League (NCL)

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.