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Monday, March 16, 2020

Health Officials Talk About Resigning Because of Mayor De Blasio's Mismanagement of Coronavirus Strategies

In this Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, file photo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, with Dr. Oxiris Barbot, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, reports on the city's preparedness for the potential spread of the coronavirus in New York.(Mark Lennihan/AP)

Mayor De Blasio has shown his lack of leadership throughout his years as Mayor, but his current mismanagement of the COVID-19 strategies and effects  is going to be his most visible legacy.

My 2 cents

 Betsy Combier,
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials 

NYC health officials threatened to resign over Mayor de Blasio’s coronavirus mismanagement: sources

MAR 16, 2020

Leadership at the city’s health department threatened to resign over Mayor de Blasio’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, The Daily News learned.

The unrest between the department and City Hall began shortly after New York’s first case of the coronavirus two weeks ago and top health officials threatened to step down as recently as last week, sources said.

At least one deputy commissioner and multiple assistant commissioners in the Health Department warned they would resign over de Blasio’s mismanagement and reluctance to take the advice of doctors in his own administration, according to an agency source.

The threat came while health officials tried to push de Blasio into taking a bolder approach to stop the spread of the potentially deadly virus, including implementing stricter “social distancing” measures, sources said.

They stood down, at least for now, after assurances from the mayor’s office that he was committed to following guidance from the agency.

When de Blasio announced schools would close until at least April 20, staffers at the Health Department’s Long Island City headquarters clapped, the agency source said.

“The staff is feeling much better because they can now implement those tactics,” said another source familiar with the discord between the agency and de Blasio’s office.

New York City has 463 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Monday morning -- up from just 20 a week before.

The surge in cases has prompted the city and state to limit public gatherings where New Yorkers, including those without symptoms, could help spread the virus to more vulnerable populations.

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New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people and shutting down all gyms, movie theaters and casinos Monday night, Gov. Cuomo announced.

De Blasio is also ordering all bars, restaurants and cafes to only offer delivery or pickup beginning Tuesday. Nightclubs, movie theaters, small theater houses and concert venues will also be forced to close.

But until a few days ago, de Blasio has mostly stressed increasing the city’s capacity to test and track down individual cases as opposed to broader measures that will have a wider impact on families, businesses and the public.

“There has been a push for aggressive action and quick decision making by the health department and even the smallest decisions have been big fights and taken longer than they should have -- to say nothing of larger consequential decisions like banning large crowds,” a source familiar with the matter said.

City Hall has also held up the agency’s own guidance to healthcare providers and the public about coronavirus, requiring all communications to go through the mayor’s office, the sources said. De Blasio even approves some personally.
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"It is a frightening thought for the mayor to override health professionals in his own administration for the sake of micromanaging optics,” said another source familiar with the situation.
The discontent got “really bad” when the city shifted from treating a few patients to facing a larger crisis with dozens of cases spread across the five boroughs, one source familiar said.

“They’ve disagreed mostly about the slow pace to adapt to information about how quickly this was advancing and how dramatically we had to change our policies to that,” the source said.

The deputy commissioner for disease control at the agency, Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, stopped attending public briefings with the mayor last week.

And de Blasio’s relationship with Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot has grown “toxic.”
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“He’s been yelling at her in meetings in front of other people,” one source familiar said.

De Blasio has also given conflicting information to the public during the outbreak.

On Sunday, de Blasio said on WBLS that the disease “appears” to transmit “when people are symptomatic.”

NYC Press Release on COVID-19 and Schools' Closing

NEW YORK, NY 10007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 15, 2020, (212) 788-2958


New Yorkers should text COVID to 692-692 to get regular updates on the latest developments regarding COVID-19; Text COVIDESP to 692-692 for updates in Spanish

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced new updates on the City’s response to COVID-19. The City will move towards a remote learning model for all school days until Spring Recess. Students will not report to school buildings for instruction until Monday April 20, 2020 or longer if necessary.

“As we learn more about COVID-19 every day, we are keeping every possible option on the table to keep New Yorkers safe. That’s why we are asking the people of our City to make hard choices as we introduce more restrictive measures to create greater social distancing—including the temporary closure of our school buildings.  We all need to change our lives—in ways both big and small—to keep each other safe,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“The health and safety of our students and families remains our top priority, and we are committed to providing instructional opportunities for all of our students,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “We know that millions of New Yorkers depend on our schools for education, but also so much more, and we will be supporting each of them during this time. We have the best students and most dedicated staff in the world—and nothing will change that.”

There are now 329 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York City and 5 fatalities.

Update on City Schools
Effective tomorrow, March 16, New York City schools will close. Starting March 23, the City will move towards a new Remote Learning Model for all school days until Spring Recess. Students will not report to school buildings for instruction during this time. School buildings are scheduled to reopen to students following Spring Recess on Monday, April 20, 2020. Grab-and-go meals will be available for students throughout the entirety of the closure.

The schedule for this week is as follows: 

Monday, March 16: Citywide closure. Students, teachers, and principals do not report.  

Tuesday, March 17- Thursday, March 19: Teachers and principals participate in professional development on remote learning. 

Thursday, March 19-Friday, March 20: Students who need it will be able to begin process of picking up the technology necessary for remote learning. Additional guidance for families will be sent this week.  

Monday, March 23: Remote learning launches, with additional guidance provided throughout the week of the 23rd. 
NYCDOE-specific instructional resources in English for students in grades Pre-K through 12 are currently available online at More information about remote learning, meals, and other core services will be made available for families at

To help all students adjust to remote learning environments, Apple and T-Mobile will ensure that in the coming weeks, 300,000 New York City public school students who don’t currently have an internet-connected device will have one for their schoolwork, beginning with 25,000 iPads that will be distributed next week

To keep healthcare providers unaffected, the Mayor is calling upon New Yorkers to watch the children of their neighbors, friends, and members of the community who work in the healthcare sector.  

Update on Senior Centers
The Mayor is instructing all programs run by Department for the Aging to close and cancel all congregate meal, recreational, and educational services and activities, effective immediately. Senior centers will operate strictly to deliver food to seniors, either as take-home meals or meals delivered to homes. Centers are advised to create a phone bank to call the center’s participants to ensure they are well and to help avoid social isolation.

New Guidance for Businesses
Members of FDNY, the New York City’s Sheriff Office, and the Department of Buildings will actively inspect businesses and issue fines to those who do not comply with the City’s new restrictions and guidance on Sunday and Monday evening of this week. The guidance, issued Friday, requires businesses with an occupancy of 500 persons or less to maintain an occupancy level at or below 50%. 

Department of Correction
To reduce exposure for COVID-19, DOC will suspend in-person visitation beginning Wednesday, March 18. The City is also taking additional measures to help detainees stay in contact with their families and communities, including increased access to phones and postage stamps. For the first time, the City is also working to implement a televisit initiative that will allow people contacting detainees the convenience of using their own personal PC or mobile device to complete the teleconference.‎ 

New Guidance for Health Providers
To minimize possible exposures to healthcare workers, vulnerable patients and reduce the demand for personal protective equipment, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will advise patients with mild to moderate illnesses to stay home. DOHMH strongly recommends against testing these persons who can be safely managed at home, unless a diagnosis may impact patient management.    

Healthcare facilities should also now plan for enhanced surge capacity. Per CDC & WHO guidance, patients can now be managed with droplet precautions along with gown, gloves, and eye protection.  This means that patients can be evaluated in a private examination room with the door closed.

Additionally, DOHMH recommends healthcare workers do not need to use a fit tested N95 respirator or Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) for routine (non-aerosol generating) care of a COVID-19 patient.

New Guidance for HRA Centers
HRA benefit applications for food and utilities, as well as other forms of emergency assistance, are currently available online. Pending State approval, HRA will not take any adverse action on cases where clients are unable to keep their appointments.

Over 337,000 New Yorkers have signed up for the City’s COVID text notification system. To get regular updates on the latest developments with coronavirus in New York City text COVID to 692-692.  New Yorkers can text COVIDESP to 692-692 for updates in Spanish. You will receive regular SMS texts with the latest news and developments. If you have any questions on finding medical care call 311.