It is not clear if Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, who earlier this month dressed up as a Clorox Wipes superhero to explain Halloween safety recommendations in the world of COVID-19, had inspired health officials in Oregon or if they were trying to one-up the Chicago mayor. Still, one thing is clear: they fell short of their goal.
While Covid is no laughing matter, it was challenging to take Claire Poche, a senior health adviser for the Oregon Health Authority, serious when she dressed up as a clown to announce the latest coronavirus death toll.
If that wasn’t bad enough, senior adviser Shimi Sharief came out dressed in a furry animal onesie that she said was inspired by the Japanese cartoon “My Neighbor Totoro.”
“As of today, there have been 38,160 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon, with 390 new cases being reported today,” she started her virtual presentation after introducing herself.
“Sadly, we are also reporting three deaths today, bringing the statewide total for COVID-19-related deaths to 608,” she said.
One could only guess if the reason for the costumes were the upcoming Halloween holiday.
“I’m sorry but who at the Oregon Health Authority thought this was a good idea?” Samantha Swindler, a journalist for The Oregonian, asked when she initially shared the video. Sharief said the pandemic was “reshaping” how Halloween is celebrated but that it could “still be spooky and fun.”
“I get they were going for a ‘fun’ Halloween COVID update and they have a very hard job but this … this does not work,” she wrote.
“The clown is just THERE and she dives right into the numbers. AMAZING STUFF,” she said, joking, “Please wear a mask and physically distance so these poor doctors don’t have to make any more videos.”
One user replied to Swindler, “Let’s give gravitas to a serious health message by…. dressing up as a clown. Ummmm… Okay.”
“This cannot possibly be real. It can’t. I do not accept that,” one amazed viewer replied on Twitter.
“There has never been a shortage of clowns at OHA,” one wrote.
Remember, these are the people that are supposed to be leading our country through a pandemic.