A door-to-door COVID-19 testing survey has been halted due to multiple incidents in greater Minnesota of residents intimidating and shouting racial and ethnic slurs at state and federal public health survey teams.
The CDC pulled its federal surveyors out of Minnesota this week following reports of verbal abuse and intimidation, including an incident in the Iowa border town of Eitzen, Minn., in which a survey team walking to a house was blocked by two cars and threatened by three men, according to state health officials. One man had his hand on a holstered gun.
Frustration with the state’s pandemic response “is totally understandable,” said Dr. Ruth Lynfield, state epidemiologist, “but that is distinctly different than taking out frustration on another human being who is trying to help and is especially galling when there is a taint of racism. There is no justification for this — the enemy is the virus and not the public health workers who are trying to help.”
Insults came at doorways, from angry people approaching the surveyors or just people walking their dogs on the other sides of the streets, said Stephanie Yendell, a state senior epidemiology supervisor.
The surveyors trapped in the Eitzen incident were permitted to leave and did not file a police report about the gun-toting man or the two others who approached them.
The frequency of problems became clear last weekend when surveyors discussed their experiences, Yendell said. A Hispanic surveyor was called one slur “more in the last week than in her entire life,” she said.
Most people were polite in all areas of the state, but there were “several” incidents and “a pattern emerged,” said Dan Huff, assistant state health commissioner. The state ended the survey rather than continuing without the CDC workers, or sending only white surveyors in largely white rural communities.
“We found that our white teams had a very different experience, a much more positive experience, but I think from our perspective it’s ridiculous for us to contemplate that,” he said. “We choose who is doing this survey on their professional qualifications.”
There is more at the link above. Notice the racist bigotry that runs through all of this. What is happening in the US, what has tRump allowed to surface? Hugs