The New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot is apparently fed up with the way New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is handling the COVID-19 pandemic and as such has decided to become the ex-New York City Health Commissioner. Sources say she sent her resignation letter to de Blasio on Monday.
She didn’t leave quietly, either. According to Fox News, Barbot made it clear that her decision came about after de Blasio continued to shelve the New York Health Department’s disease control expertise. In her resignation letter, Barbot cites her “disappointment” to de Blasio:
“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,” she wrote to de Blasio.
“Our experts are world renowned for their epidemiology, surveillance and response work,” she continued. “The city would be well served by having them at the strategic center of the response not in the background.”
New York health officials have clashed with de Blasio over his decision to take the Health Department’s responsibility for COVID-19 contact tracing and, instead, giving that responsibility to the public hospital system, the Times reported.
De Blasio is said to have repeatedly ignored Barbot’s advice and would even pass off responsibilities listed within her and her department’s job description off to other healthcare services.
She also left a letter to her colleagues, encouraging them to continue the good work that they do according to Fox News:
“This morning I submitted my formal resignation to Mayor de Blasio,” she wrote. “Your experience and guidance have been the beacon leading this city through this historic pandemic and that to successfully brace against the inevitable second wave, your talents must be better leveraged alongside that of our sister agencies.”
“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,” she added. “The moment demands it without distractions.”
Chair of the New York City Council health committee, Mark D. Levine, considers this to be bad tidings for New York.
The departure of Dr. Oxiris Barbot as New York City’s Health Commissioner is a grave blow to the fight for public health here in NYC.
Read my statement below. pic.twitter.com/XbtfV1nogg
— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) August 4, 2020
While Barbot is upset with de Blasio, the soon-to-be-former commissioner has had her own bad moments. She confirmed to sources in May that her reaction to police asking for masks devolved into a heated conversation between herself and NYPD’s Chief of Department Terence Monahan.
Barbot apparently became angry enough that she told Monahan that she didn’t “give two rats’ asses about your cops” and telling him she needs those masks for others.
Barbot has apologized twice for her behavior during that incident.
It should also be noted that Barbot’s original position about the virus was for everyone to “go about their lives.” Calls for her resignation were later made due to the fact that her advice caused the virus to sweep widely throughout the city.
NYC “Health Commissioner” Oxiris Barbot on Feb. 7th: “We’re telling New Yorkers, go about your lives, take the subway, go out, enjoy life” pic.twitter.com/qYIfCeM5Ph
— greg bales (@GregBales01) May 14, 2020
Barbot’s mistake definitely didn’t help the situation in New York, but she’s hardly alone. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s order to move sick elderly patients into uninfected nursing homes caused New York’s death rate to skyrocket.
De Blasio has already named Barbot’s replacement. Taking over will be Dr. Dave A. Chokshi.
“Dr. Chokshi has spent his career fighting for those too often left behind,” de Blasio said in a statement according to NBC New York. “Never has that been more true than during the COVID-19 pandemic, where he has helped lead our City’s public health system under unprecedented challenges. I know he’s ready to lead the charge forward in our fight for a fairer and healthier city for all.”