Since November 1, the number of daily cases in New York has increased significantly, reaching 1,500 new cases identified per day last week. The increase, driven by the Delta variant, was greatest in Queens, a borough with vaccination rates well above the city average.
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“The fact that we haven’t detected it may mean that it’s still extremely rare here, that it’s the proverbial needle in the haystack,” Dr Bassett said of the variant. Omicron. “We now have an exposure and we expect it to be detected in the next few days. “
Dr Bassett, who headed the New York City health department for four years until 2018, took over the head of a struggling health department that suffered from an exodus of health officials. health under former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who has intervened on several occasions in the department’s response to coronaviruses.
Dr Bassett replaced Dr Howard A. Zucker, who announced his resignation in September following political pressure over his role in potentially helping to obscure the number of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes under Mr Cuomo .
Appointed by Ms Hochul, who replaced Mr Cuomo after his resignation in August, Dr Bassett faces the daunting task of restoring confidence in the state’s public health apparatus among experts and New Yorkers.
Dr Bassett was acclaimed as the city’s health commissioner for his role in dealing with the Ebola fear in 2014, as well as an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease and the threat of Zika. She most recently served as Director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard.