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NYC health commissioner cites dispute with de Blasio in resignation letter

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NYC health commissioner cites dispute with de Blasio in resignation letter



August 5, 2020




The head of New York City’s health department made headlines this week when she stepped down following a public dispute with Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio.

In a resignation email quoted by The New York Times, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot, who was appointed by de Blasio in 2018, took issue with the mayor’s decision to put hospitals in charge of contact tracing rather than her agency. She wrote that she resigned “with deep disappointment” as the city faced “the most critical public health crisis in our lifetime” compounded by a botched local response.

The “incomparable disease control expertise” of the agency was at the city’s disposal but “was not used to the degree it could have been,” she added.

“The beacon leading this city”

“Our experts are world renowned for their epidemiology, surveillance and response work,” the resigning public health commissioner contended, according to the Times.

Though her criticism of de Blasio and other city leaders was clear, Barbot reserved high praise for the staff of the department she has led since 2018. She characterized their “experience and guidance” as “the beacon leading this city through this historic pandemic.”

Barbot also asserted that their “talents must be better leveraged alongside that of our sister agencies” as New York City attempts to “successfully brace against the inevitable second wave” of the coronavirus pandemic.



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