New York City Health Commissioner Dr Oxiris Barbot resigned on Tuesday citing her “deep disappointment” at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent efforts by the city to keep the situation under control.
His departure comes after growing tensions between the town hall and senior health department officials, which date back to the start of the epidemic in the city last March, came to light, according to local press.
“I leave my post today with deep disappointment as during the most serious public health crisis of our lives, the Department of Health‘s unparalleled disease control expertise was not utilized in the field. to the extent that it could have been, ”wrote Ms. Barbot in her resignation email sent to the mayor of New York, a copy of which is published by The New York Times.
“Our experts are recognized worldwide for their epidemiological, surveillance and intervention work. The city would be well served by placing them at the strategic center of the response and not in the background, ”she said.
The resignation of Dr. Barbot risks putting back on the agenda the issue of Mr. de Blasio’s management of the response to the epidemic that devastated the city in the spring, killing more than 20,000 New Yorkers.
His resignation also comes at a sensitive time as the city’s public schools set to partially reopen next month, which could be crucial for the resumption of economic activity, in addition to growing fears that the epidemic may reappear. when the weather cools down in early fall.
Mayor de Blasio had been accused by public health experts, including some in the Department of Health, of not reacting quickly enough to shut down schools and businesses last March, when New York City emerged as the l epicenter of the pandemic in the United States.
Reacting to the resignation, Bill de Blasio told a press conference that it has been “clear in recent days that it is time for a change” at the head of the city’s health department. “We need an atmosphere of unity. We need an atmosphere of common purpose, ”he said.