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

Here’s a leader who truly underestimated the virus.

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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.

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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.

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MSNBC Medical Contributor: “We Should Make Masks Mandatory in Public”

He wants to force the public to wear masks.

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A MSNBC medical contributor called for the wearing of face masks to be made mandatory in the United States, claiming that anything otherwise would represent a threat to public safety.

Dr. Vin Gupta made the dramatic, authoritarian appeal on a Monday morning segment on the network. Watch here:

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We should institute mandatory masks in public when you can’t guarantee social distancing. That means retail stores, that means public transportation, that means workplaces… That’s absolutely where we should be headed. Makes no sense why we’re not already there, people are flouting the rules…

Gupta’s appeal to authoritarianism is almost certainly a doomed project. While many businesses and institutions have enacted rules requiring the use of a face mask to enter their property, it’s all but impossible to imagine a system where law enforcement mandates the wearing of face masks by the general public.

Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine already rescinded an executive order mandating the wearing of facemasks inside businesses, stating the onerous requirement was a “bridge too far.”

A more efficient public health strategy would be to strongly encourage people to maintain social distancing practices, and wear face masks if they feel so inclined. Many Americans simply aren’t going to accept a paradigm in which we treat our neighbors as latent biothreats on an infinite, rolling basis.

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