Partisan politics has no place in medicine. City Councilman Chris Foster recently read a letter at the last city council meeting criticizing Governor DeWine’s pandemic mandates. His letter remains another example of the ill-informed, tunnel vision by some of our local politicians concerning public health. I understand the devastating effects on the economy, but it’s more complex.
Medicine is extensively ruled by evidence and peer review. Foster refers to Ohio’s 21-day trends of COVID-19, but it is more complicated than following the ebb and flow of these charts. Epidemiology has shown us that in order to control the spread, the R0 (R-naught) needs to be less than zero. Until there is a proven treatment/vaccine: quarantine, masks, and social distancing are the only effective methods to mitigate uncontrolled spread.
Foster is concerned about citizens’ rights being "tossed aside" and suggests "...allowing our residents to choose what risks they are willing to take..." This is a slippery slope as one person’s decision to take risks should not be at the expense of putting others at risk. We all have made sacrifices.
Since I have been caring for COVID-19 patients daily, I have not seen my wife and newborn twins for over two months. Still, I am extremely fortunate.
After Mr. Foster finished reading his letter, he said "... this is how I feel". Feelings, emotions, and anecdotes may have a place in politics, but not in public health policy. I applaud a politician like DeWine who puts aside partisan politics and listens to all his advisors. DeWine’s approval rating among Ohio voters is over 80% in all the polls. While most of Hudson City Council may agree with Chris Foster’s viewpoint, the vast majority of Ohioans support DeWine’s handling of the pandemic.
So, do our local politicians actually represent us?
Michael Kaufmann M.D., Hudson