The Oregon Health Authority is quickly re-examining its media strategy after two officials attended a press conference to announce COVID-19 deaths dressed as a clown and a cuddly animal.
Bizarrely, Doctor Claire Poche, a senior health adviser for the Oregon Health Authority on the US north-west coast, donned a white and red clown makeup and a red tie with a polka dot shirt to announce the deaths.
“As of today, there have been 38,160 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon, with 390 new cases being reported today,” she said before adding: “Sadly, we are also reporting three deaths today, bringing the statewide total for COVID-19-related deaths to 608.”
Apparently, Doctor Poche’s get-up was related to another discussion about how Oregon locals could celebrate Halloween safely given the pandemic.
Things then went from worse to pantomime when Doctor Poche was joined by senior adviser Shimi Sharief who joined the press announcement dressed in a cuddly animal onesie from the Japanese animated film My Neighbor Totoro.
Oregonian journalist Samantha Swindler was first to call out the insensitive blunder, describing the costume choices as an “absolute nightmare”.
“I’m sorry but who at the Oregon Health Authority thought this was a good idea?” she tweeted.
Swindler added: “I get they were going for a ‘fun’ Halloween COVID update and they have a very hard job but this … this does not work.
“One of the great things about this video (and there are many great things) is they never acknowledge or address the costumes. The clown is just THERE and she dives right into the numbers. AMAZING STUFF,” Swindler penned.
Others tweeted: “Oregon. Literally run by clowns.” While another added: “Federal CVOID response: metaphorical clown show. Oregon CVOID response: literal clown show.”
Check it out below:
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