The Completely Inappropriate Way a Senior Oregon Health Official Announced the State's COVID-19 Death Toll

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Posted: Oct 29, 2020 6:00 AM
The Completely Inappropriate Way a Senior Oregon Health Official Announced the State's COVID-19 Death Toll

Source: NanoStockk/iStock/Getty Images Plus

At first glance, this video of two Oregon health officials discussing coronavirus in the state doesn't even seem real, but it's 2020 and nothing should surprise us anymore.

In announcing the state’s death toll, Claire Poche, a senior health adviser for the Oregon Health Authority, dressed like a clown—face paint and all.

“As of today, there have been 38,160 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon, with 390 new cases being reported today,” she said at the start of her virtual presentation. “Sadly, we are also reporting three deaths today, bringing the statewide total for COVID-19-related deaths to 608.”

When it was senior adviser Shimi Sharief’s turn to speak, it was clear the outfits were done as part of a discussion about how to celebrate Halloween safely amid the pandemic. Sharief, dressed in an animal onesie, said Oct. 31 could “still be spooky and fun” and provided safe alternatives to trick-or-treating.

The video was done on Oct. 14 but is just now going viral after a journalist at The Oregonian brought it to light, calling the video “an absolute nightmare.”

“I’m sorry but who at the Oregon Health Authority thought this was a good idea?” she wondered. “I get they were going for a ‘fun’ Halloween COVID update and they have a very hard job but this … this does not work.”

As Swindler pointed out, neither physician ever addressed their costumes, making the video all the more bizarre.