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New York’s Health Officials Continue to Quit as Cuomo’s COVID-19 Power Trip Grows

New York’s Health Officials Continue to Quit as Cuomo’s COVID-19 Power Trip Grows

A former official said morale at the Health department “certainly was and continues to be at an all-time low.”

https://youtu.be/EP5IfieXs_o

A New York Times report revealed that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo lost nine top health officials in recent months as his power trip and ego has grown when it comes to COVID-19.

Cuomo displayed his ego last Friday: “When I say ‘experts’ in air quotes, it sounds like I’m saying I don’t really trust the experts because I don’t.”

State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker has not left. He attends Cuomo’s press conferences.

But the state lost Dr. Elizabeth Dufort, medical director in the division of epidemiology, and Dr. Jill Taylor, head of Wadsworth laboratory. The number two person at the Health Department took another job. Another one “is expected to leave” soon.

Zucker’s deputy resigned at the end of summer.

The health officials grew frustrated after they had to find out COVID-19 policy changes during Cuomo’s conferences:

That was what happened with the vaccine plan, when state health officials were blindsided by the news that the rollout would be coordinated locally by hospitals.

But it also occurred earlier with revisions in a host of state rules from the fate of indoor dining and businesses like gyms to capacity limits on social gatherings, according to a person with direct experience inside the department.

Earlier in the pandemic, the health officials were often informed about criteria for who was eligible to be tested for the virus — for example, an expansion to include essential workers like transit workers, police and firefighters — from Cuomo news conferences, the person said.

The tensions boiled over after Cuomo decided to use his vaccine plan instead of the one health officials made:

In the fall, Mr. Cuomo shelved vaccine distribution plans that top state health officials had been drawing up, one person with knowledge of the decision said. The plans had relied in part on years of preparations at the local level — an outgrowth of bioterrorism fears following Sept. 11 — and on experience dispensing vaccine through county health departments during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009.

As a result, local officials across the state complained that their efforts to vaccinate were undercut by the Cuomo plan.

“Wait a minute, why are we not doing this?” Anthony J. Picente Jr., a Republican who is county executive in upstate Oneida County, said he remembered thinking.

The State health department hoped officials could “expand a system used for childhood vaccinations, in which the city is able to order doses directly from the federal government.”

Cuomo said no. He told President Donald Trump’s administration “to work only with the state.”

Instead, Cuomo worked with “hospital executives, outside consultants and a top hospital lobbyist.”

His plan made it hard for cities to establish vaccination sites. The state chose the Greater New York Hospital Association as the “regional vaccination hub in New York City” instead of the Health Department.

The association is”a trade group with a multimillion-dollar lobbying arm that had been a major donor to the governor’s causes.”

The City University of New York, Epidemiology Professor Dr. Dennis Nash, described the move as a “big mistake.”

“To put hospitals in charge of a public health initiative – for which they have no public health mandate, or the skills, experience or perspective to manage one – was a huge mistake, and I have no doubt that’s what introduced the delays,” Dr. Nash told The New York Times.

It probably did:

The approach included narrow eligibility rules and suffered from a lack of urgency by some hospitals. That led to fewer doses being administered in the early weeks, followed by abrupt shifts in policy that created a kind of free-for-all among those searching for vaccine appointments, according to interviews with more than two dozen current and former health officials, county leaders, vaccination experts and elected officials.

“The governor’s approach in the beginning seemed to go against the grain in terms of what the philosophy was about how to do this,” said Dr. Isaac Weisfuse, a former deputy commissioner at New York City’s Health Department who often served as an incident commander during emergencies. “It did seem to negate 15 to 20 years of work.”

A former official said morale at the Health department “certainly was and continues to be at an all-time low.”

Another one told the Times that the Health Department had high morale in other emergencies because the “officials felt that their talent and experience were valued.” But “the opposite happened” during this pandemic.

Cuomo has faced a lot of criticism lately. A report from New York Attorney General Letitia James’s caused Cuomo’s outburst on Friday. It showed that his policies might have killed more grandmas than everyone initially thought.

What did he have to say about the Times’ report?

“If Times reporters think I push hospitals too hard and local governments too hard, I say I’m a fighter for the people of New York and I believe I’m saving lives,” he retorted.

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Comments

Poor New York. First it was COVID-19, then it was CUOMO-20.

2smartforlibs | February 1, 2021 at 3:23 pm

I don’t know how long it’s been said the GOP may not fix all your problem but the DNC is defiantly the cause of all of them.

“I say I’m a fighter for the people of New York and I believe I’m saving lives,”

He thinks he’s saving lives, but his incompetence is killing thousands.

“f***-upper of the people of New York”

fixed it for him

I feel bad for the people who live in NY. Cuomo wants to be President. But keep him in NY. Don’t inflict him on the entire USA.

    henrybowman in reply to r2468. | February 1, 2021 at 8:32 pm

    Look at how well that worked in Vermont. Now find another plan.

    Lucifer Morningstar in reply to r2468. | February 2, 2021 at 7:08 am

    I don’t. Those very people you feel “bad” for are the very people that most likely voted for Cuomo election after election. And elections have consequences. Though I bet they never thought the consequences would be this dire.

The Times wants a governor who is further left than Cuomo.

This guy is a mass-murderer. That is not an exaggeration:

New York Penal Law § 125.10: Criminally negligent homicide:
https://www.tsiglerlaw.com/new-york-penal-law-%C2%A7-125-10-criminally-negligent-homicide/

And not only is it one count: it is THOUSANDS of counts!

His criminality aside, Cuomo’s sadistic glee in packing these people off to their deaths should be played on video at his sentencing.

“It’s great to be king”. Imperious.

Inaccs or involuntary accessories to the man from Planned Parent/hood.

Cuomo’s not incompetent, he’s corrupt. That all decisions were made behind closed doors with lobbyists rather than through his medical team is a tell.

MoeHowardwasright | February 1, 2021 at 8:20 pm

I have lived in Florida for 49 of my 63 years. I am now retired and there are a “lot” of my snowbird friends from NY moving here permanently. Many, if not all, have expressed disgust at Fred’s the Elder. These aren’t people with no retirement plans. These are people of means that can stay in NY if they wanted. They are selling and getting the Hell out. There you go!

“The health officials grew frustrated after they had to find out COVID-19 policy changes during Cuomo’s conferences… The tensions boiled over after Cuomo decided to use his vaccine plan instead of the one health officials made…”

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for “gun violence” to be reframed as a “public health” issue.

To put hospitals in charge of a public health initiative – for which they have no public health mandate, or the skills, experience or perspective to manage one

That’s a bizarrely arrogant thing to say. Accusing, say, an auto manufacturer of incompetence in the area of public health is one thing. Accusing hospitals is quite another.

    Lucifer Morningstar in reply to randian. | February 2, 2021 at 7:19 am

    But it’s the truth. Cuomo should have left it to the people that knew what they were doing. And that isn’t hospital administrators. Hospitals aren’t equipped nor trained to deal with public health issues. and shouldn’t be in charge of such things.

    rebelgirl in reply to randian. | February 2, 2021 at 8:30 am

    Hospital administrators are trained to look inside the hospital system and insurance companies…not outside of it and not to treat generally healthy populations. That is the mandate of public health personnel.

Bitterlyclinging | February 2, 2021 at 8:34 am

“Senator Corleone. Governor Corleone” From the movie.
If you think New York is going to change anytime soon, I have a bridge to sell you.

Health Departments across the country have been the ones pressing the Governors to keep their States closed and locked-down. They have become a Gestapo outfit, impressed with their powers over the poor, sad, average joe.

I’m reading this as Cuomo losing faith in his Health Department folks. To my mind, it’s about freakin’ time Governors start doing that: it’s long overdue.

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