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Coronavirus Developments: Trump On Pandemic, NYC Health Commissioner Resigns, Vaccine Development Moves Forward

A clash of words marked the day as President Trump gave an interview with Axios on the handling of the coronavirus and New York City health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot resigned amid tensions with Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Barbot stepped down from her position after saying she was deeply disappointed in how Mayor de Blasio was handling the coronavirus pandemic.

In an email that was obtained by The New York Times, Barbot said: “I leave my post today with deep disappointment that during the most critical public health crisis in our lifetime, that the Health Department’s incomparable disease control expertise was not used to the degree it could have been.

“Our experts are world renowned for their epidemiology, surveillance and response work. The city would be well served by having them at the strategic center of the response not in the background,” the email said. On the same day that Barbot resigned, de Blasio named Dr. Dave A. Chokshi as health commissioner.

Barbot’s resignation came as de Blasio took control of coronavirus contact tracing from the Health Department, which had performed the task for a decade. 

Prior to Bardot’s resignation, President Trump gave an interview with Axios that covered a range of topics, including the pandemic. Trump deflected criticism, saying that the pandemic is “under control as much as you can control it.”

“This has never happened before. 1917, but it was totally different,” he said. “It was a flu in that case. If you watch the fake news on television, they don’t even talk about it, but there are 188 other countries right now that are suffering. Some, proportionately, far greater than we are.”

When pressed over the growing number of cases, Trump blamed testing saying: “You test, some kid has even just a little runny nose, it’s a case. And then you report many cases.”

He maintained that the death toll in the U.S. is not as bad as the numbers seem displaying his own charts to prove his point. “If you look at death, take a look at some of these charts. Right here, the U.S. is lowest in numerous categories. Lower than the world, lower than Europe,” he said.

Trump continued: “You have to go by the cases” as he suggested South Korea, which has one of the lowest death rates, is faking its statistics.

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