Oregon's Health Official Announces Covid Deaths in a Clown Make-up Stirring Controversy

·3 min read

A public Health Authority official from Oregon (USA) has stirred up some controversy after a public awareness report went wrong.

The news bullet was aimed at informing the people about the novel coronavirus statistics, like the number of new patients, deaths, and so on. The serious issue also ended with a PSA to promote mask usage. However, the woman delivered these numbers of grave importance while sitting in clown makeup. While her reactions are plain while she delivers the statistics, the funny costume still doesn’t suit the tone of the report or the general pandemic.

The woman’s name is Claire Poche who is a health advisor and senior member of Oregon Health Authority. She tells the public that there have been 38,160 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon, with 390 new cases that day as well as three deaths. This brought the total number of deaths to 608. While she delivers this morbid news, she is wearing a black and white polka-dotted shirt, yellow pants, and a face full of funny-clown makeup. Towards the end of the video, she calmly wears a mask, still expressionless.

A part of the show was uploaded to Twitter by a social media celebrity and prominent pro-Trump activist, Ian Miles Cheong. He captioned the video, “This is not a photoshop. Oregon's public health authority announced COVID deaths in clown makeup.”

Many on Twitter refused to believe it’s real, calling it a parody and one even suggested it could be created using “deep-fake” technology where doctored videos appear very real. However, most were simply saddened by the lack of taste saying there is a time and place for everything. Announcing hundreds of deaths in a clown place certainly isn’t suited for any time or place. While it’s not seen in this short clip of 26 seconds, Poche was later joined by another one of her colleagues, Shimi Sharief.

He is wearing an animal onesie, along with another senior Health Advisor. He said just because the pandemic is raging, “it doesn’t mean Halloween still can't be spooky and fun this year.” He suggested some low-risk activities like online costume contests or watching a scary movie online in the safety of your home. He also said one could carve pumpkins with family members to brighten up the festivities.

The video was originally filmed on October 14, however, it went viral after many people shared it only. A local reporter in Oregon called it “an absolute nightmare.” Samantha Swindler, a journalist at the Oregonian, asked who at the department ever thought this would be a good idea.

Douglas Murray, British writer and editor, had equally exasperated reaction.

"Oregon. Literally run by clown," he said.