The numbers of COVID-19 cases are still increasing across the nation, around the state and here in Athens, and while there may be a lag time in the daily updates provided by public health agencies, a recent survey shows support for local health departments is on the rise. Brian Castrucci is the President and CEO of the nonprofit, De Beaumont Foundation. He would like to see funding increase for public health.
“Seven out of ten Americans support local public health, back in 2018 it was just 56%.”
That poll was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies.
Some of the biggest increases were among white men, men with a college degree, independent women, and voters in the Midwest.
Castrucci says you cannot overestimate the importance of the departments.
“Already, in this pandemic in the US, we're at about 180,000 deaths. Just to put that into perspective, that would be two University of Georgia football stadiums full of people. That’s who we've lost.”
He says the (Public Health) agencies are the front line defense against viruses and other health threats.
“We spend 700 billion dollars a year to guard against threats from foreign powers and to guard against foreign influence, but the 180,000 or so Americans who have died due to COVID, the 14 million folks who are without their jobs, that wasn't a foreign power, that was a virus.”
The poll used a telephone survey among 800 registered voters.