ROSEBURG, Ore. -- A Roseburg physician is asking Gov. Kate Brown to reconsider the way she is handling COVID-19 in Oregon. With case numbers rising, he said what she’s doing now is not working.
Dr. John Powell is a family physician and the hospital and urgent care director at Evergreen Family Medicine. He wrote an open letter to Brown on July 8 with his suggestions.
He said the governor should be taking a “targeted approach” when dealing with COVID-19. Because the elderly are more vulnerable, he said they should be the main priority.
“It’s a better use of our resources and it’s going to cause less harm to those who are not at risk,” said Powell.
For those under 45, Powell said they should be able to live their lives without restrictions because they are less likely to die from the virus.
"There's over 5,000 people under the age of 30 (in Oregon) that have positive cases,” said Powell. “We know based on some studies that that's much higher. But we've had zero deaths."
He said the lockdown is causing young people’s mental health to suffer significantly. That’s why he suggests the governor considers lifting restrictions as they are less vulnerable. He said it could help bring them sanity.
“I’m talking to teenage kids with suicidal ideations, I’m talking to spouses who are abused and are not comfortable getting out of that situation,” said Powell.
However, even if the letter doesn’t make an impact on Brown’s future decisions, he said he’s hopeful the letter will bring people a new perspective on how to handle the virus.
“I’m asking my colleagues, my professional colleagues to step out of their comfort zone,” said Powell. “Because a lot of them feel the same way I do.”
You can read the full letter here.