New York Department of Health faces questions over PPE readiness for the future

National

Protective N-95 face masks lie on a table at an office in Washington, D.C., February 26, 2020. (Eva Hambach / AFP / Getty)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s health agency is walking back a recent statement by the state’s top health official, who had cast doubt on reports from nurses about dire shortages of protective gear at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in late March and early April.

State health commissioner Howard Zucker said that he spoke to hospital administrators, nurses, and physicians amid the pandemic, and said he was told “they have the PPE,” referring to personal protective equipment.

But following Zucker’s testimony, the health department released a statement that said state health officials had indeed heard reports from nurses demanding more or better protective gear.

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