A New York Times exposé documented an email that showed why New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio botched the city's response to the coronavirus epidemic and how he's staying the course despite the disastrous results.
The report published on Thursday documented emails from Mitchell Katz, the head of NYC Hospitals, that delayed the implementation of social distancing guidelines in the city.
In one email sent on March 10, Katz said there was "no proof that closures will help stop the spread," and argued that they should simply accept that many people would be infected.
"We have to accept that unless a vaccine is rapidly developed, large numbers of people will get infected," he said in the email. "The good thing is greater than 99 percent will recover without harm. Once people recover they will have immunity. The immunity will protect the herd."
Research shows that the hot spot in New York City helped "seed" contagions in other parts of the United States.
Critics of de Blasio say that he put more faith in the opinion of Katz than he did in Health Department officials who disagreed with his opinion.
Staying the course
Even more alarming, de Blasio has put Katz in charge of the massive effort to oversee the contact tracing critical to managing the crisis.
Stanley Brezenoff, who temporarily led Health and Hospitals before Katz, told the New York Times the decision was puzzling and nonsensical.
"It is a head-scratcher. I can't figure out the rationale, and I don't think it's worth the risks. Just because they both have 'health' in the name doesn't mean they're in the same business," said Brezenoff.
"I'm second to none in my admiration for Mitch's clinical prowess," Brezenoff continued, "but this is a job for the Health Department."
New York City has seen more than 189,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with more than 22,000 deaths. The city accounts for nearly a quarter of all the deaths from the virus in the United States.
Here's more about New York's pandemic response:
COVID victim's son: NY didn't protect vulnerable www.youtube.com