New York Well being Commissioner Howard Zucker, who oversaw the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and confronted criticism for sending COVID-19-positive sufferers again into nursing properties, has resigned from his place.
Gov. Kathy Hochul introduced at a press convention on Thursday that Zucker had submitted his resignation however would proceed in his function till a alternative might be discovered. Zucker was a key member of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration.
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Cuomo resigned in August following a storm of sexual harassment allegations, which he denied, although the governor was additionally dealing with warmth for his nursing residence coverage through the pandemic.
On March 25, 2020, Cuomo signed an government order shielding nursing properties from legal responsibility when admitting COVID-19-positive sufferers. The aim of the order was to maintain hospitals from being overwhelmed when New York turned the primary U.S. coronavirus epicenter, however Cuomo rescinded it on Could 10, 2020.
The order was linked to over 1,000 further resident deaths, coverage authorities watchdog group the Empire Middle for Public Coverage reported in February. In March, Zucker was named in a Wall Avenue Journal report as one of many members of Cuomo’s group who pushed state well being officers to change a July 2020 report on COVID-19 nursing residence deaths that led to an undercount in fatalities.
After requesting information, the Justice Division introduced in July that it could not pursue an investigation into the nursing residence insurance policies in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania that critics say led to 1000’s of pointless deaths because of the transmission of COVID-19.
Hochul mentioned she is within the means of transitioning to a brand new group.
“He understands that, on this time, I’ve wished to take the primary 45 days to assemble a brand new group going ahead,” Hochul mentioned throughout her announcement. “That course of is ongoing, and he understands and he respects that.”
New York Lawyer Basic Letitia James , who oversaw the investigation that discovered Cuomo credibly accused of sexual harassment, mentioned that Zucker’s resignation “marks the top of a tough chapter for our state.”
“Whereas I thank him for his service, we’d like extra transparency and accountability on the Division of Well being as we proceed to battle COVID-19,” she mentioned in a press release. “I stay up for working with the following well being commissioner, who should safeguard the well being and wellbeing of all New Yorkers, particularly probably the most weak, and should accomplish that with openness and nice care.”
In his resignation letter , Zucker mentioned he was happy with New York’s achievements towards the pandemic.
“Although we proceed to deal with new quagmires associated to the pandemic, from problems with booster photographs to authorized challenges relating to vaccine mandates, I imagine that in our explicit state probably the most tough points of this can be behind us,” he wrote.