Head of LA County Public Health Barbara Ferrer Addresses Recent Death Threats During COVID-19 Briefings

Ameera Butt
June 22, 2020 - 11:55 am

    The head of LA County Public Health addressed recent death threats she's received since being the face of relaying information and news about the COVID-19 pandemic in Los Angeles County.

    More than 3,000 people have died from the virus in LA County so far.

    Dr. Barbara Ferrer said Monday in a statement that the death threats started last month and her husband, colleagues and kids were the first ones to see a message "during a COVID-19 Facebook Live public briefing when someone very casually suggested that I should be shot."

    "One reason I handle these briefings myself is to shield the extraordinary team at L.A. County Public Health from these attacks which have been going on, via emails, public postings, and letters—since March. It is deeply worrisome to imagine that our hardworking infectious disease physicians, nurses, epidemiologists and environmental health specialists or any of our other team members would have to face this level of hatred," she said. 

    Ferrer said "We did not create this virus. We come into work every single day prepared to do our very best, prepared to work with everyone, with all of our partners, to try to continue to contain this pandemic and to try to continue to minimize the loss of life. "

    "And while frustration boils over in our communities as people are done with this virus, this virus is not done with us," the statement said.

    Ferrer stressed the wearing of face coverings because it stops the spread of COVID-19. 

    "I recognize there is a lot of pushback from people not wanting to wear face coverings—when wearing a seatbelt was made mandatory in California there was a lot of pushback, too. But the data proves that seatbelts save lives, and the data also proves that wearing a face covering will help stop transmission of COVID-19, which will save lives. And that’s what drives public health officials and is our passion: saving lives," she said.