FILE – In this May 1, 2018, file photo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference in Newark, N.J. Asian-Americans have been divided over affirmative action for decades, long before New York City’s mayor proposed an admissions overhaul to admit more blacks and Latinos into elite city schools currently dominated by Asians. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
It’s hard to imagine anyone who seems to have done a worse job in the face of the Wuhan coronavirus than Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Democratic candidate for president.
His latest remarks are just stunning, given he’s the guy who’s supposed to be leading New York City, the place that has become the epicenter for virus cases in the country.
De Blasio was answering questions from WNYC host Brian Lehrer when he said they’d only learned it could be transmitted by asymptomatic in the last 48 hours.
“The city’s position used to be that healthy people don’t need masks because they’re not very effective at preventing the virus from coming in, they’re mostly from keeping you from spreading it, so explain this new recommendation,” Lehrer said.
“Exactly, it’s still the fundamental truth, so we have, you know, a renowned health department here in New York City… only in the last really 48 hours or so do they feel they’ve seen evidence around the world, particularly a new study coming out of Singapore, that shows more evidence that this disease can be spread by asymptomatic people,” de Blasio responded.
De Blasio also said that only “people fighting in the front line battle” should be using surgical masks and N95 masks, that others could employ makeshift or homemade masks.
Lehrer pushed back against his claim, saying that we knew about asymptomatic transmittal for weeks if not months at this point, but de Blasio claimed we didn’t.
“No, the fact is I’ve been at so many press conferences where our top doctors for New York City addressed this and they said ‘we just didn’t have evidence from all the global medical community that was studying this issue,” de Blasio told Lehrer. “There was suspicion, but there was not evidence.”
How did he not know this when all the rest of us knew this?
.@BrianLehrer "Didn't we know weeks and months ago that asymptomatic ppl can spread this disease?" @NYCMayor "No." Said his admin was told that was not the case; this is "new approach based on new data."
— Sally Goldenberg (@SallyGold) April 3, 2020
— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) April 3, 2020
You can say that again. This guy shouldn’t be in charge of anything.
This is only the latest of a series of questionable remarks and actions. He and the NYC Health Commissioner were telling people to continue their regular behaviors, go to parades in February. De Blasio was even telling people to go to the movie theater and claiming the disease wasn’t easily transmitted into March.
De Blasio on Feb 10th: “We want to encourage” NYers going out. "If you’re under 50 & you’re healthy, which is most NYers, there’s very little threat here. This disease, even if you were to get it, basically acts like a common cold or flu. And transmission is not that easy." pic.twitter.com/CeGMKbnFtz
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 27, 2020
That last video of De Blasio was actually March 10, Elliott corrected.
Since I’m encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus, I thought I would offer some suggestions. Here’s the first: thru Thurs 3/5 go see “The Traitor” @FilmLinc. If “The Wire” was a true story + set in Italy, it would be this film.
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) March 3, 2020
When he finally began to get it and tell people to change behaviors, he apparently didn’t.
The mayor’s health department told New Yorkers late last night that we should all act as if we have been exposed to coronavirus. Late this morning, @NYCMayor has been spotted at the gym.
— Jillian Jorgensen (@Jill_Jorgensen) March 16, 2020
According to the NY Daily News on March 16, “At least one deputy commissioner and multiple assistant commissioners in the Health Department warned they would resign over de Blasio’s mismanagement and reluctance to take the advice of doctors in his own administration.”
On March 20, the New York Post termed de Blasio’s staff in “near revolt” over his response to the virus.
When Mayor de Blasio dragged aides and members of his NYPD security detail to his Brooklyn YMCA Monday morning amidst the coronavirus outbreak, fellow fitness enthusiasts were coughing and sneezing — and a mentally ill person was walking around touching the equipment, a gym source said.
“It’s crazy that he made his staff and detail come with him to the gym and expose them like that,” the source said.
But the incident is just one example of the mayor’s disregard for the health of his staff during the crisis, multiple sources told The Post.
There’s also growing frustration from senior aides, who fault the mayor for dithering instead of making decisions, micromanaging instead of leading, and insisting he knows best instead of listening to others, three sources said.