Just in time for Halloween comes news that an Oregon public health official dressed as a clown while reviewing COVID-19 death tolls and related coronavirus infection information.

Claire Poche, a senior official of the Oregon Health Authority, wore a red tie, polka dot shirt, bright yellow pants, and a full face of clown makeup during her video presentation.

“As of today, there have been 38,160 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon, with 390 new cases being reported today,” announced the harlequin impersonator. “Sadly, we are also reporting three deaths today, bringing the statewide total for COVID-19-related deaths to 608,” she somberly continued in heavy contrast to her attire.

Without addressing her attire, she passed the floor to fellow health advisor Shimi Sharief, who donned an anthropomorphic onesie. According to Sharief, the costume was inspired by the Japanese anime “My Neighbor Totoro.”

Sharief clarified the purpose of the costumes, stating that despite the pandemic “reshaping” Halloween, the popular holiday could “still be spooky and fun.” The announcement, however, is two weeks old, having been recorded on October 14th and only gaining widespread attention since Tuesday, making the choice of attire even more puzzling.

The presentation was met with a less than amused reception on social media.

Meanwhile, Americans have serious concerns as we enter into the holiday season. Many people are beginning to consider stockpiling toilet paper and cleaning products, as they are worried about more restrictions.

As winter encroaches, more than half of U.S. consumers are considering replenishing their assortment of goods and essential products that they had originally stockpiled during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, according to new research from data-driven technology-enabled services company Inmar Intelligence.

When the pandemic hit the U.S. in March, 64% percent of shoppers created a stockpile of products as a result, according to Inmar.

Now, roughly 57% of shoppers are considering restocking due to growing fears of a “potential second wave of COVID-19,” which could lead to another round of bare store shelves.

Business owners in Oregon and other states and cities in lockdown are suffering. For example, Salem, Massachusetts (which gets much tourism business at this time of year), is nearly shut down due to state restrictions.

This year, all city-backed events have been canceled. Attractions, shops, and restaurants—already at limited capacity—require advance tickets and reservations to gain entry. Without such planning, city officials suggest visitors postpone their trips until next year.

On Oct. 21, Mayor Kim Driscoll announced further safety precautions including a mandatory 8 p.m. closure on Oct. 30 and 31 for all downtown businesses. Trains from Boston won’t stop at Salem during certain hours Oct. 30–Nov. 1.

Parents around the country are worried about how to handle Halloween amid local coronavirus rules. My best friend and I are bagging candy, handing it out wearing gloves and donning masks…in an attempt to salvage fun holiday memories for the neighborhood children.

I talked about socially-distanced Halloween measures during the Canto Talk show today, as well as a review of the current election cycle.

So, If public health officials aren’t taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, why should I? Why should any of us?


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