Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office in a state of “panic” early on during the pandemic, fearing the messaging to the public as the crisis was unraveling in the city, according to the former New York City Health Commissioner.
“Behind the scenes we had talked to the mayor and his team that we could see tens of thousands of people die if we don’t act quickly, and there being this sort of panic in the room, of like, ‘Oh my God, you can’t say that to the public because we’re gonna lose their trust,'” Dr. Oxiris Barbot told BBC Select in a video documentary posted on YouTube.
Dr. Barbot resigned in August amid “deep disappointment” in de Blasio’s coronavirus response.
“[I felt] very strongly that we needed to prepare New Yorkers emotionally for what was coming,” she says in the video, noting the flu season death rate would be more amplified and happen in a “short amount of time.”
“‘We need New Yorkers to be ready for loved ones dying,'” she recalled saying.
“But I was trying to, in that early period, be deliberate about,” she said before stopping for emotion and tears, adding, “as the city’s doctor, taking my city through what I knew was coming, and it was hard.
“Somehow I managed to do it without crying the way that I am now.”
Through Monday afternoon, there have been more than 755,261 COVID-19 cases among New Yorkers, and 29,866 have died since the start of the pandemic, according to city data.
“In that moment, I had 8.6 million patients,” she said at the end of the video.
Barbot told de Blasio in her resignation letter she felt the city’s health department was not given the latitude to do their best during the pandemic, the New York Post reported.
Barbot was also, infamously, the official who had told NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan she did not “give two rats’ a**es about your cops,” rejecting the NYPD’s request for $500,000 in face masks.
In response, a City Hall spokeswoman rejected Barbot remarks, claiming she failed to give the city clear direction on when to shut down, the Post reported.
“The idea that Dr. Barbot was pounding on the table, warning City Hall behind closed doors that tens of thousands of people would die without more aggressive action is simply false,” the spokeswoman told the Post. “All we wanted was a clear prognosis on when to shut down the city, and how far we had to go. She was unable to produce either.”
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.