New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has not only infuriated the public for his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic but senior state health officials as well. “Much of the tension between health officials and Cuomo stemmed from the governor’s refusal to rely on longstanding vaccine distribution plans” reports National Review.
Cuomo’s distribution plan has been abysmal, resulting in at least nine health officials quitting the New York State Health Department since the beginning of the pandemic due to clashes with Cuomo. Dr. Isaac Weisfuse was the deputy commissioner for public health until he left late last summer.
After Weisfuse, the director of the bureau of communicable disease control and the medical director for epidemiology also left. National Review reports the departures are due to Cuomo’s dismissal of vaccine distribution plans “developed and tested at the local level over many years” and instead, has “implemented his own plan that involved tapping large hospital systems as distribution hubs, the New York Times reported Monday.”
The governor made demands for federal officials to work only with New York state instead of local officials. According to one city official, Cuomo’s decision thwarted the city’s efforts to set up its own vaccination sites.
Weisfuse told the Times “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…it did seem to negate 15 to 20 years of work.”
In a news briefing on Friday, Cuomo himself seemed to confirm his decision to sideline health experts. “When I say ‘experts’ in air quotes, it sounds like I’m saying I don’t really trust the experts. Because I don’t. Because I don’t” Cuomo told the press.