The pandemic continues to test our society in unprecedented ways, affecting mental health, our safety and sense of security. Recently, the newest crisis faced by our healthcare community and hospitals, is not that of the virus itself, but rather the increasing harassment, threats, and violence at the hands of anti-vaxxers and those opposing public health guidelines.

 These targeted attacks take the form of racism, character assassinations, baseless professional complaints, and even physical assaults, and are directed at those who choose to speak up in the media, online and in public forums.  While peaceful demonstration is a democratic right, these recent actions outside of hospitals have crossed the line into unlawful behavior, and at times, criminal activity. These protests are acts of intimidation and bullying, and are a demoralizing attempt to silence those who do not share the same views.  It is unacceptable, and intolerable.

For healthcare professionals who have battled this virus, working through extraordinary times, and who continue to show up day after day, this harassment exacerbates the exhaustion, uncertainty, and mental health concerns that they have experienced and continue to experience.  We need to stand with them in support and insist that they receive the protection and security they deserve.

Violence is never the answer to a difference in opinion.

Kelly Arndt

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