New York City health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot resigned on Tuesday, and she took a shot at Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio on her way out the door.
Dr. Barbot had clashed with Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD over the past few months as New York City struggled to handle the COVID-19 pandemic. She is set to be replaced by Dr. Dave A. Chokshi, a former senior leader at Health and Hospitals.
“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 wrote in her resignation letter, according to Fox News. “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.”
Back in May, Mayor de Blasio took responsibility for contact tracing away from the health department, instead giving it to the public hospital system. He made this move despite the fact that the health department had been responsible for such efforts for decades.
Barbot made headlines when she clashed with the NYPD after the police department requested 500,000 N95 face masks for officers. Since masks were in short supply at the time, Barbot declined the request, telling one senior police official, “I don’t give two rats’ asses about your cops.”
Almost 6,000 NYPD officers have contracted COVID-19, with at least 43 dying from the deadly virus.
De Blasio has become infamous for how poorly he has handled the coronavirus pandemic. Back in February, he wrongfully stated publicly that people could not get COVID-19 from surfaces. Barbot agreed with him publicly at the time, saying that “this is not something that you’re going to contract in the subway or on the bus.”
The consequence of this was that New Yorkers continued to pack themselves into crowded public transportation until May, when the subway system was finally shut down.