New York, Feb 4 (IANS) Dave Chokshi, the Indian-American Health Commissioner of New York City, said that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and warned that the disease “continues to circulate in our communities, and all of us are potentially exposed to the virus”.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Chokshi, who assumed office on August 4, 2020, said: “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.”
The Health Commissioner said that he has mild, but manageable symptoms, adding that thecity’s Test and Trace Corps has been notified of his diagnosis and will alert anyone who was potentially exposed, Xinhua news agency reported.
“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,” he added.
Reacting to the development, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that “Covid is everywhere around us”, and “Chokshi has been doing absolutely amazing work and gruelling work protecting all of us, but we’re all human beings. There’s the possibility that Covid can reach us. It doesn’t change the overall reality”.
Following the Health Commissioner’s positive Covid-19 diagnosis, the Mayor was questioned about why he and his top officials had not been vaccinated.
“I think it is incumbent upon all of us who do not yet meet the criteria to defer to those in greater need,” de Blasio said.
“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.”
Chokshi took over as the city’s health Commissioner in the midst of the raging Covid-19 pandemic following the resignation of his predecessor Oxiris Barbot.
A primary care physician at Bellevue Hospital and associate professor at the NYU School of Medicine, Chokshi has served in leadership roles at NYC Health+ Hospitals over the past six years.
Since the onset of the pandemic early last year, New York City has registered at least 621,218 confirmed coronavirus cases and 27,354 deaths.
The city’s biggest hot spots include the South Bronx, north and southeast Queens, and much of Staten Island.