Science News

As public health workers flee the field, California becomes more vulnerable to mix of diseases

Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription)

Across California, public health departments are losing experienced staffers to retirement, exhaustion, partisan politics, and higher-paying jobs. Even before the pandemic throttled departments, staffing numbers had shrunk with county budgets. But the decline has accelerated over the past year and a half, even as millions of dollars in federal money has poured in. Public health nurses, microbiologists, epidemiologists, health officers, and other staff members who fend off infectious diseases like tuberculosis and HIV, inspect restaurants, and work to keep communities healthy are abandoning the field. It’s a problem that temporary boosts in funding can’t fix.