NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Bill de Blasio is under fire for not releasing key information about the capacity of the city’s health care system to withstand the coronavirus crisis, despite a promise of transparency.
Requests for important information about the ability of the city’s health care system to shoulder the crushing burden of the COVID-19 pandemic are being ignored, CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer says.
“I just don’t find it productive to put out numbers that I’m not sure at any given point are accurate because things are changing constantly and I’m just going to stick with that,” the mayor said Thursday.
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Key stats the city won’t divulge include what neighborhoods are hot spots, the hardest hit.
In comparison, the city of Newark, New Jersey, is doing hot-spot breakdowns neighborhood by neighborhood.
“It is clearly widespread over all five boroughs,” de Blasio said.
The city has also clammed up on the number of ICU beds it has for the sickest people and how many are empty, along with the capacity of city morgues.
CBS2’s urban affairs expert Mark Peters says the mayor’s making a big mistake.
“I think it’s not a good look for the mayor. I think it’s a real problem. I mean, transparency is important under the best of circumstances, and when you’re facing the kind of crisis that we’re facing now, transparency is doubly important,” he said.
“Why do you think he’s been so careful not to give a lot of specifics about things like hot spots and ICU beds?” Kramer asked.
“Frankly, there’s no good reason for the mayor not to be providing this information. This is an administration that hasn’t been particularly transparent in the best of times and now that we’re in a crisis, it seems to be reverting back to even less transparency, which is really troubling,” Peters said.
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The problem for de Blasio is that his public performance pales in comparison to his frenemy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been praised for his in-depth PowerPoint presentations chock-full of statistics.
“The mayor could absolutely take a cue from the governor because the governor has been doing a very good job of providing a lot of information carefully and thoughtfully,” Peters said.
The mayor’s spokesperson says what really counts is how hard the city is working to build up capacity, not how many of any one thing are available at any given hour on any given day.