FLASHBACK: NYC Health Commissioner Said Coronavirus Risk Was “Low” Last Month

Resurfacing footage of New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot discussing the threat of Chinese coronavirus in early February all but establishes that city authorities gravely underestimated the threat of the virus.

In the footage, Barbot describes the risk to the public from the coronavirus as “low.” She tells New Yorkers that there’s no reason to avoid the subways, public buses, and that they should attend upcoming parades in the city.

The demonstrably false advice was given on February 2nd, almost a full month before American society as a whole began to recognize the immediate dangers of the virus. Ostensibly, dozens of people could’ve been infected with the disease already when Barbot told the public to keep calm and carry on, presumably infecting dozens or hundreds of others.

In hindsight, such advice appears totally discredited and verifiable harmful to the general public, especially coming from an official tasked with safeguarding public health. New York City has since become the national ground zero for the Chinese coronavirus, with Friday’s latest reports indicating that more than 25,000 cases of the disease have been diagnosed within the city alone.

Tucker Carlson brought up Barbot’s negligent message on the threat of the virus on his show Thursday, blasting the failure of local leaders in preparing city residents for the threat of the disease.

Leaders in New York not only failed to shield their citizens from it, they took affirmative and aggressive steps to increase the risk to their population.”

Carlson pointed to the footage as a shocking betrayal of the public trust.

Future generations are gonna watch that video with their jaws open in disbelief. How could someone charged with protecting public health so recklessly endanger it?”

As New York City residents struggle to contain the most severe health pandemic in their city’s history since the 1918 Spanish Flu, they deserve accountability from the public health officials who clearly failed them.