NYC health commissioner resigns, blasts Bill de Blasio’s failed leadership amid pandemic on way out

New York City’s former health commissioner took a parting shot at Mayor Bill de Blasio as she resigned following his disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Oxiris Barbot turned in her resignation letter and expressed her “deep disappointment” with the Democrat and his treatment of the Health Department during the COVID-19 crisis.


(Source: CBS News)

“I leave my post today with deep disappointment that during the most critical public health crisis in our lifetime, that the Health Department’s incomparable disease control expertise was not used to the degree it could have been,” Barbot’s resignation letter said. “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.”

Serving as the health commissioner since 2018, Barbot had recently come into increasing conflict with de Blasio and other leaders in the city which, as the epicenter of the virus this spring, saw more than 20,000 residents die.

According to The New York Times:

The mayor had been faulted by public health experts, including some within the Health Department, for not moving faster to close down schools and businesses in March, when New York emerged as an epicenter of the pandemic.

Public health officials have bristled at the mayor’s decision to strip the Health Department of its responsibility for contact tracing and give it instead to the public hospital system, known as Health + Hospitals. The Health Department has performed such tracing for decades; the public hospitals have not.

 

The mayor reacted to Barbot’s abrupt resignation in a press conference on Tuesday.

“It had been clear in recent days that it was time for a change,” he said. “We need an atmosphere of unity. We need an atmosphere of common purpose.”

Though he did not mention or thank Barbot for her service, de Blasio quickly announced her replacement as the new health commissioner, Dr. Dave A. Chokshi, who was a former senior leader at Health + Hospitals.

Barbot, who had an infamous clash with NYPD Police Chief Terence Monahan over masks, wrote a letter to her staff announcing her resignation.

“I am proud that as a woman of color raised in public housing in this city, I always put public health, racial equity and the well-being of the city I love first,” she wrote, according to ABC News. “My commitment to this city and to public health is unwavering.”

“It’s a bad day for the city. She’s a very qualified commissioner of health,” former deputy mayor of health Lilliam Barrios-Paoli said. “There’s another woman of color that goes down. I think it’s a really regrettable thing.”

“This is not a position you can put anybody just because. It’s the premier public health agency in the country,” Barrios-Paoli added. “It’s just a shame that she did not feel that she was supported by the mayor.”

Many social media users who reacted to the news were enjoying watching Democrats eat their own.

Frieda Powers

Senior Staff Writer
[email protected]

Originally from New York, Powers graduated from New York University and eventually made her way to sunny South Florida where she has been writing for the BizPacReview team since 2015.
Frieda Powers

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