To the editor,

Jay Edwards, R-Nelsonville, has proposed House Bill 90 that would restrict the ability of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to protect Ohioans and save lives in the middle of the pandemic. It would strip the state health director of the authority necessary to contain the spread of the Coronavirus that has resulted in the death of over 11,000 Ohioans to date. In one year, COVID-19 has resulted in more American deaths than during all 4 years of WWII. COVID daily deaths often exceed the lives lost on one of our most tragic days in history — 9/11. COVID is currently the leading cause of death in the U.S.

HB 90 will hurt the fight to end this crisis.

This bill allows the Ohio state legislature to rescind any public health crisis order from any department within the governor’s administration. It would create a committee that could potentially rescind an executive order issued by the governor or the ODH to prevent the spread of any contagious disease.

We understand the economic toll on business and the COVID fatigue we are all struggling with. However, neither the Governor nor the Ohio Department of Health caused this crisis. The refusal of too many to follow simple public health advisories has not only led to the rapid spread of infection, but also slowed down our economic recovery.

HB 90 would create a 10-member committee composed of Senate and House members but would not include public health or medical experts. Therefore, the decisions would likely be purely political rather than science-driven. This committee, along with the stipulation to limit public health emergencies to 30 days, would bog down the executive branch’s ability to react quickly and forcefully to public health emergencies.

This legislative effort is an example of partisan politicians attempting to supersede the expertise of medical professions. The bill is an arrogant attempt to use one’s opinion to override facts and science. We wouldn’t let legislators perform our surgeries, treat our high blood pressure or diagnosis a rash. Why would we want them to determine what we should or should not do to fight a deadly, infectious disease or alleviate a public health crisis? Masks, hand-washing and social distancing keep us safe. If passed, this bill would not.

Deb Meyer, PhD, RN

Co-signers are:

Sara Boyd, MHA

Ann Brown, RN, BSN, MA

LuAnne Caughey, RN

Chaplain Susan Erlewine, BCC, MSN, RN-BC

Roxanne Groff, MA

Christopher Meyer, D.O. MPH

Melanie Moynan-Smith, RN, MS, FNP

Nancy E. Pitre, RN, MSN

Susan Quinn, OD, FAAQ

Susan Righi, MD, MPH

Nancy Schell, CHES

Solveig Spjeldnes, PhD, MSW, MA

Janalee Stock, RN, BSN

David Stroh, DO, Associate Professor Family Medicine, OUHCOM, ret.

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