NYC Public Health Commissioner Resigns Over Mayor de Blasio’s Handling of Crisis With Blistering Email

“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,” New York City’s health commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot said in her resignation email sent to Mr. de Blasio today.

“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.”

“It had been clear in recent days that it was time for a change,” Mayor de Blasio said in a rushed CYA news conference he called at after the bombshell news.


“We need an atmosphere of unity. We need an atmosphere of common purpose.”

“It’s a bad day for the city. She’s a very qualified commissioner of health,” said Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, a former deputy mayor of health under Mr. de Blasio who worked with Dr. Barbot.

“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,” Ms. Barrios-Paoli said. “It’s just a shame that she did not feel that she was supported by the mayor.”

From The Washington Examiner:

Barbot has taken issue with de Blasio’s recent decision to strip the local health department of the responsibilities associated with contact tracing, a practice during which government-funded trackers attempt to chart whom a coronavirus patient has been in contact with before and after testing positive for the virus.

De Blasio’s recent action on contact tracing delegated the responsibilities to public hospitals instead.

“Everything at Health and Hospitals has been based on speed and intensity and precision, and they’ve done an amazing job,” he said.

“These are core functions of public health agencies around the world, including New York City, which has decades of experience,” said Dr. Mary Bassett, a former health commissioner in the city. “To confront COVID-19, it makes sense to build on this expertise.”