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This is no laughing matter.

A senior Oregon health official is going viral for dressing up as a clown to announce the latest coronavirus death toll.

Claire Poche, a senior health adviser for the Oregon Health Authority, wore white and red face makeup along with a red tie with a polka dot shirt in the somber video announcement.

“As of today, there have been 38,160 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon, with 390 new cases being reported today,” she started her virtual presentation after introducing herself.

“Sadly, we are also reporting three deaths today, bringing the statewide total for COVID-19-related deaths to 608,” she said.


It was only when she cut to fellow senior adviser Shimi Sharief — dressed in a cuddly animal onesie that she said was inspired by the Japanese cartoon “My Neighbor Totoro” — that it became clear that the costumes were part of a discussion on celebrating Halloween safely during the pandemic.

Sharief said the pandemic was “reshaping” how Halloween is celebrated but that it could “still be spooky and fun.”

The live video was recorded on Oct. 14, but started going viral Tuesday after being shared by Samantha Swindler, a journalist at The Oregonian who called it “an absolute nightmare.”

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