New York

City Hall withholds COVID neighbor death data during New York City’s pandemic peak

When COVID-19 struck New York in March 2020, city health and mental health officials began planning where the virus was most heavily attacked in the five provinces.

New York is approaching the expected peak of death, and a map of deaths categorized by zip code is ready to go online in the first week of April, according to an email reviewed by people familiar with the matter and THE CITY. It’s ready.

“I think the reality of this scenario is that we need to be at the highest level of transparency,” said one Top Health in an email on April 5, 2020, two days before the coronavirus deaths peaked. Written by a doctor in the department.

However, the city hall did not approve the release of neighborhood-level death data until May 18. Between April 5 and May 18, 2020, there were 12,923 confirmed deaths and an estimated 3,399 deaths from the coronavirus in New York City.

This email provides a window for Mayor Bill de Blasio to manage pandemic information during the disastrous early weeks of the COVID crisis. A glimpse was made at the moment his Ministry of Health reclaimed the confidence of the New Yorker as a new variant, including Omicron. Spread.

On Monday, the mayor announced a widespread vaccine obligation for all private sector employees — calling this move a “preemptive attack” against another potentially infectious wave.

“We can talk about all other tools, and we do, but vaccination is the central weapon of this war against COVID,” he said.

“This is one of the things that has worked entirely at the strategic level every time. That’s why New York City is back in different ways.”

Almost 35,000 New Yorkers have died of COVID-19 since the first confirmed death in early March 2020.

Transparency calls were suppressed

When New York faced the first wave of COVID that spring, longtime City Health officials believed it was important to publish information about where people were dying. Email reviewed by THE CITY.

However, information declined after being approved by the Health Department, which could not publish anything without the permission of the city hall, people familiar with the matter said.

However, city officials blamed the delay in releasing detailed death data on divisions within the health sector, and some officials stigmatized communities where zip code-level maps were hit and misrepresented. Of the safety of other neighborhoods that claimed to have the potential to create a sensation.

At that point, the virus was on the rise. Hundreds of New Yorkers died in COVID-19 each day, and 815 died on April 7.

Using autonomous region-level death data available at the time, THE CITY clearly On April 3, 2020, Bronx residents died twice as often as the city, spurring them on. call Focused help and resources. When the city’s first death map was finally released on May 18, 2020, it showed that COVID had the most intense condemnation of poor areas.

Dr. Oxiris Barbot, then Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Health, spoke at the City Hall News Conference on the coronavirus on March 12, 2020.
Ben Fractenberg / THE CITY

Meanwhile, then-health commissioner Dr. Oxyris Barbot was fighting behind the scenes with De Blasio over the city’s response to an unprecedented health crisis. De Blasio also frequently collided with Gob at the time. Andrew Cuomo.

Daniel Filson, a spokesman for De Blasio, responded to THE CITY’s inquiry as follows:

“The City Hall provided important information to New Yorkers promptly, with accuracy and integrity,” she said. “We have led the country in responding to a pandemic. We held a daily press conference, setting up a testing and vaccine infrastructure to keep New York City safe.”

Michael Lanza, a spokesman for the city’s health department, said continuing to inform New Yorkers proved an important part of the authorities’ pandemic response.

“The early days of the pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to our city, and the Department of Health and sister agencies responded as quickly as possible to publish accurate and up-to-date guidance and data,” he wrote in a statement. I am.

“Big Hallelujah”

However, health officials said the city was locked out of many conversations as it began responding to COVID last year. And when it came to disclosing information, from health warnings to data about who got sick and where, everything had to be cleared by the deBlasio office.

“We take a long time to send data and see the light of day,” said a former health department employee. “Every time something went live, there was a big Hallelujah.”

In early April 2020, Dr. Demeter Dascalakis, then Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary of the Disease Control Department, sent an email to other health department staff requesting a map of death.

“I think the reality of this scenario is that we need to be at the highest level of transparency,” he wrote to other health department staff on April 5. The Ministry of Health has sent maps and other data to the city hall for final approval.

Dr. Demeter Dascalakis

Dr. Demeter Dascalakis
Mike Ren, New York State Health Department

An email sent later that month indicated that the release was still awaiting approval from the city hall. At his televised press conference, reporters repeatedly pressured the mayor on the geographic breakdown of the dead.

“For zip code deaths, we absolutely need to get rid of it, and we want to get rid of it,” he said when asked at a press conference on May 12.

“Again, it’s a very sad topic, but we’re always going to provide transparency.”

Zip code level data, released six days later, show the various impacts of the pandemic on neighborhoods throughout New York City. Some sections are catastrophic and others are destroyed.

Initially, the highest mortality rates were in zip codes, including housing development in the city of Starlet in Brooklyn. At that time, 76 deaths were counted in the area. Data showed..

No COVID-related deaths have been recorded in other areas such as Lower Manhattan’s Financial District or Battery Park City.

Initially, the Ministry of Health was unable to provide the necessary conditions for deaths, including “potential death” — victims who had never tested positive for COVID but showed symptoms consistent with the virus. person.

However, the draft April 13 Health Department press release, which was not published, provided a clear explanation for the “potential for death.”

“Behind all deaths are friends, family and loved ones. We are focused on ensuring that all New Yorkers who died for COVID-19 are counted.

Bureaucratic Logjams

Dascalakis, who left the Ministry of Health last year, did not respond to requests for comment. Barbot, who resigned after receiving numerous reports of feuds with the mayor last year, did not respond to requests for comment.

She openly accused De Blasio and told the BBC’s documentary crew last year about the delays of the early mayors of the pandemic, especially the delays in closing orders throughout the city. “Thousands of lives have been sacrificed.” However, her critics said she did not inform her of the full threat of the virus, and they mistaken her leadership style.

Health Director Dr. Oxiris Barbot talks about the epidemic of the coronavirus.

Then, Health Director Dr. Oxiris Barbot will talk about the coronavirus epidemic seen by Mayor Bill de Blasio on March 2, 2020.
Ben Fractenberg // THE CITY

recently, Podcast Regarding her days when the pandemic began, Barbot described it as a “master class for making decisions with incomplete data.”

“One of the challenges that certainly existed from the beginning was to get people to know it in a way that didn’t scare Bejesas,” she said.

Mr. Barbot added: “One of the things I was very concerned about was staying transparent with New Yorkers about what we knew and didn’t know, when information became available and new data points became known. It was to share with them, to adjust the strategy to the new reality. “

That new reality was often changing — and required open communication, sometimes encountering bureaucratic logjams, a former health official said.

Doctor’s advice was delayed

According to an email shared with THE CITY, the city was closed in mid-April 2020, and health officials drafted recommendations for patients on how to receive treatment for illnesses other than COVID.

This notice, published online and sent to a network of medical professionals in New York City, tells doctors how to promptly seek medical care for patients with severe symptoms of illnesses other than COVID. I advised. The notice also called on New Yorkers to donate blood, if possible.

However Advisory Not released until May 29, upset health staff who wanted to provide immediate guidance to doctors and other care providers.

Health officials at the time believed that the pandemic would adversely affect patients with other illnesses who were afraid to seek external medical care or were unable to do so due to the risk of the virus.

Officials were right: of the city Excessive deathIncluding the number of deaths related to pandemics, the number of deaths increased by nearly 35,000 compared to the previous year in the year to June this year.

City officials said the recommendations were issued after review and approval from state-level stakeholders — highlighting frequent issues during the pandemic the city addressed. Often combative Cuomo administration, Officials said.

“We continue to prioritize transparency and publish more data than any other region,” Filson said in a statement.

City Hall withholds COVID neighbor death data during New York City’s pandemic peak

Source link City Hall withholds COVID neighbor death data during New York City’s pandemic peak

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