Research shows that most Americans praised the way state and local health departments responded to COVID-19

Research shows that most Americans praised the way state and local health departments responded to COVID-19

More than 70% of those polled had high praise for how public health departments responded to COVID-19. Through the coronavirus pandemic, public health’s response has won praise. But federal agencies – the Centers for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration, and National Institutes of Health – didn’t get the same high marks.

The findings were mixed, with skepticism around the federal government entities like the CDC and FDA, but support for the work of public health. The poll was taken during February and March, by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“It’s only when we have an outbreak like this do people realize that public health is there protecting them every day,” said Dr. Alonzo Plough, who is chief science officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. A new poll shows most Americans support increased funding for public health, suggesting the pandemic has brought a new perspective on the issue.

“These things that address the health of an entire community are really what’s had some of the most dramatic impacts in terms of improving health,” Dallas County Health Director Dr. Philip Huang said. Dr. Huang said public health goes beyond exotic diseases that show up, it’s battling chronic diseases and socio economic conditions that impact health disproportionately. County and state health departments, the front line against disease locally, should have increased funding, said some 72% who answered the telephone poll.

“The messages came from lots of different places and I think it’s fair to say parts of the pandemic got a little politicized, and I think that doesn’t help us in building trust,” Dr. Plough added. FILE – Stock image of an empty hospital bed.  (FOX TV Stations)

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