NYC health commissioner resigns over de Blasio's response to coronavirus pandemic

by Bryan Brammer · Aug 4th, 2020 3:09 pm
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Last Updated Aug 5th, 2020 at 1:29 am

New York City's top health official resigned Tuesday over Mayor Bill de Blasio's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said she was leaving her post with "deep disappointment" that the "Health Department's incomparable disease control expertise was not used to the degree it could have been" during the "most critical public health crisis in our lifetime."

"Our experts are world renowned for their epidemiology, surveillance, and response work. The city would be well served by having them at the strategic center of the response not in the background," Barbot wrote in her emailed resignation letter.

Barbot and de Blasio have repeatedly clashed with each other since the beginning of the pandemic. In May, the mayor decided to put hospitals in charge of contact tracing, despite the health department's experience with contact tracing for AIDS and measles.

In a letter addressed to Department of Health colleagues, Barbot confirmed her resignation and praised the agency for its relentless efforts.

"As I shared with the Mayor, your world-class skills are what make this agency so respected around the globe," Barbot wrote. "I have every confidence that you, the committed individuals of this agency, will continue to dedicate yourselves to protecting the health of all New Yorkers during this unprecedented public health emergency."

De Blasio appointed Dr. Dave Chokshi, an associate professor of Population Health and Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine, to replace Barbot.


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