Ohio has been recognized nationally as a public health model for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, recent comments comparing Ohio’s public health actions to those taken by the German Nazis during World War II, are damaging and polarizing and need to be condemned.

As local public health officials, we stand together in condemning these comments which clearly demonstrate a lack of empathy, understanding, and leadership. We recognize the state’s decisions to protect our residents have been disruptive and are challenging for everyone. Yet, we feel the state’s actions have saved the lives of thousands of Ohioans, including those here in Central Ohio. We agree with ODH Director Dr. Amy Acton who has stated, “we are optimistic that we have the grit and resilience to weather a war, especially given the outstanding leadership we have.”

Right now, it’s continued leadership that we need along with the support and understanding that the temporary actions being taken are for the protection of all Ohioans, and not meant as a permanent removal of rights and freedoms. As we move forward, let’s continue to be empathetic, kind, thoughtful and helpful to our neighbors and those we serve. Only then can we ensure Ohio and our local communities will successfully get through this unprecedented public health emergency.

 

Shelia Hiddleson, MS, RN | Health Commissioner | Delaware General Health District

Joe Mazzola, MPA | Health Commissioner | Franklin County Public Health

Julie Miller, RN, MSN | Health Commissioner | Knox Public Health