(Natural News) New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi announced on Wednesday, Feb. 3, that he has tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). Chokshi, 39, said that he was experiencing mild symptoms. Mayor Bill de Blasio subsequently used Chokshi’s positive diagnosis to push for more vaccinations.
Chokshi was named health commissioner of New York City in August last year after de Blasio clashed with the previous commissioner. Chokshi served with the Louisiana Department of Health during Hurricane Katrina, was a White House fellow during the administration of former President Barack Obama and served as the principal health adviser to the then-Secretary of Veteran Affairs.
Aside from being the health commissioner, he continues to practice medicine as a primary care physician in Bellevue Hospital in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan. He is also an associate professor at the New York University School of Medicine.
In a statement published on his Twitter account, Chokshi discussed his positive test for COVID-19.
“In New York City and across the country, COVID continues to circulate in our communities, and all of us are potentially exposed to the virus. A testament to this fact is that I recently got tested and received a positive diagnosis for COVID-19. I now have mild symptoms, but they are manageable.”
“I have been in touch with New York City’s Test and Trace Corps to ensure that anyone who was potentially exposed is offered services and care. This is a reminder – if we ever needed one – that COVID is still with us and we all must continue to wear masks, wash our hands, socially distance and stay home if feeling ill.”
Chokshi became a prominent public figure in New York City last year for leading the efforts to promote the coronavirus vaccines as well as appearing in a multitude of advertisements urging New Yorkers to follow city, state and federal health guidelines regarding social distancing and wearing face masks. (Related: Medical tyranny? New York deploys “mask squads” to enforce social distancing.)
De Blasio using Chokshi’s diagnosis to expand vaccination drive
De Blasio and other city officials were quick to use Chokshi’s positive diagnosis to remind people to follow city health protocols and to sign up for the coronavirus vaccine as soon as they are eligible.
During one of his daily press briefings, De Blasio was asked by reporters how he can continue reassuring the public about the virus after the city’s top health boss contracted it, De Blasio said this should serve as a reminder that “COVID is everywhere around us.”
“Dr. Chokshi has been doing absolutely amazing work and grueling work protecting all of us, but we’re all human beings,” De Blasio said. “There’s the possibility that COVID can reach us. It doesn’t change the overall reality.”
De Blasio added that contact tracing efforts are underway to identify all the individuals who may have been exposed to Chokshi in the past few days. The mayor added that he believes he’s in the clear and has no plans to quarantine because he hadn’t personally seen Chokshi “for a while.”
Senior Advisor to the Mayor and epidemiologist Dr. Jay Varma reminded the reporters that Chokshi has not yet received the coronavirus vaccine. However, he was scheduled to get his first shot after he completed his “requisite number” of hours working at vaccine clinics. The officials at the briefing did not specify what that “requisite number” was.
This prompted reporters to question why the top public officials of New York City have not been vaccinated, to which De Blasio said that it is the duty of those who do not meet the criteria and are in good health to “defer to those in greater need.”
“I don’t want to get a vaccination when a senior citizen could be getting that vaccination or a first responder could be getting that vaccination.”
The mayor added that the “real answer” to getting New Yorkers the vaccines is to purchase more vaccines and increase the city’s supply.
In New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently gave local governments the power to include restaurant workers and taxi drivers in the expanding list of people who are eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine. De Blasio immediately jumped at the chance to get more people vaccinated.
“It was clear to me that the folks that work in the restaurants deserve the right to be vaccinated,” he said. “They were vulnerable, they needed the right to be vaccinated. My decision is ‘yes.'”
As De Blasio moved ahead with testing, more people in New York City contracted the coronavirus, including NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea and mayoral candidate Andrew Yang.
As of press time, there have been 621,218 reported cases of the coronavirus in New York City, including 27,354 deaths. The number of daily reported cases is trending downward, but the number of deaths is trending up.
Learn more about the state of the coronavirus pandemic in New York City and in other parts of the country by reading the latest articles at Pandemic.news.