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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nearly a quarter of public health workers said they felt bullied, threatened or harassed because of their work since the pandemic began, new CDC data shows.

Why it matters: The data corroborates the anecdotal evidence of how politically charged public responses and work burnout wreaked havoc on the mental health of public health workers this past year, causing some to even resign.

By the numbers: Out of 26,174 public health workers surveyed across the U.S., 23.4% said they'd been threatened or harassed and 11.8% said they'd received a job-related threat.

  • More than half of respondents reported symptoms of at least one mental health condition in the past 2 weeks. That included about 37% reporting symptoms in the past two weeks coinciding with PTSD, 32% reported symptoms of depression, 30% reported anxiety and 8% reported suicide ideation.
  • The results of the screenings were worse among those who said they felt unable to take time off and among those who worked more than 41 hours a week.
  • Nearly 75% of respondents having experienced traumatic stress said they were overwhelmed by work.

The highest prevalence of symptoms of a mental health condition was among respondents those ages 29 and younger, as well as transgender or nonbinary people of all ages.

Go deeper

Oct 5, 2021 - Health

J&J asks FDA to approve COVID-19 booster shots

A health care worker preparing a shot of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine. Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday it asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve a booster shot of its one-dose COVID-19 vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: The company last month released data from a global study on the efficacy of a booster shot for its vaccine, which showed that the protection offered by its coronavirus vaccine was strengthened by a second dose.

Oct 5, 2021 - Health

Arizona can't use COVID aid for anti-mask education grants, Treasury says

Deer Valley High School in Glendale, Arizona. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Treasury Department informed Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) Tuesday that he cannot use federal COVID-19 funding on education grants directed at discouraging mask mandate in schools, AP reports.

Why it matters: In a letter to Ducey, the department said Arizona was misusing the funds by utilizing them to undermine compliance with public health measures aimed at stopping the spread of the virus, per the New York Times.

Oct 5, 2021 - Health

HHS: Vaccination linked to lower COVID cases and deaths among seniors

A resident care associate sits outside with residents at a Benchmark Senior Living facility in Woburn, Massachusetts. Photo: Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

COVID vaccinations were linked to a reduction of roughly 265,000 COVID-19 infections, 107,000 hospitalizations and 39,000 deaths among Medicare beneficiaries between January and May this year, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Why it matters: The findings reflect the "devastating effect COVID-19 has had on our vulnerable seniors and demonstrates that efforts to prioritize and vaccinate this group directly correlate to saving lives," the agency said.