Q&A of the Day – The impact of COVID-19 on public officials

Q&A of the Day – Public officials testing positive for COVID-19

Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods.

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Twitter: @brianmuddradio

Facebook: Brian Mudd https://www.facebook.com/brian.mudd1

Today’s entry: Have you noticed that not a single politician has died, lost their business or missed a paycheck due to COVID-19? Tell us again how we are not being played?

Bottom Line: That’s simply not the case. As of Monday, there were 71 politicians who’d tested positive for COVID-19 and seven who’ve died. Most of the politicians who’ve contracted and died from the virus have been at the state level, so they’re not household names, but the assumption that public officials ubiquitously haven’t been impacted by the virus is incorrect. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Federal officials: 8 cases – no deaths
  • State officials: 49 cases – 4 deaths
  • Local officials: 14 cases – 3 deaths

Floridians to have contracted the coronavirus include:

  • Congressional Representative Mario Diaz-Balart
  • Congressional Representative Neal Dunn
  • State Representative Shevrin Jones
  • Miami Mayor Francis Suarez
  • Jacksonville Councilman Sam Newby

Thankfully all Florida officials recovered. The public officials who’ve died include three judges, two state representatives, a city councilman, and school board member. Notably, the death rate for public officials who’ve contracted the virus is higher than the US population as a whole (9.8% to 7%).

I felt it was worth addressing this topic for a couple of reasons. I understand the concern that public officials are generally less impacted by the pandemic than those they’re tasked with serving. There’s a case to be made this is generally true as they retain their jobs and their taxpayer provided paychecks. At the same time, it’s important to operate with facts in hand. By providing incorrect information it’s possible you could undermine your credibility with others and what’s otherwise a valid argument. This is why I continue to ask that we all operate with facts rather than narratives. Once we’ve signed onto a narrative, we’re inclined to be drawn to share ideas to fit the narrative which often may be false or misleading.

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