County Executives Recount Harrowing First Year of Pandemic in New COVID Book

Look forward to new partnership as they lead their communities through the ‘Delta wave'

This summer, as New York was hit with a fourth “Delta wave” of COVID-19 and a change in leadership in Albany, New York's County Executives released a new book chronicling the harrowing experiences and lessons learned from leading the local response through the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The book was commissioned by the bi-partisan New York State County Executives' Association (NYSCEA) to document for policy makers, politicians, and the public what happened during the height of this once-in-a-century public health crisis, and evaluate the consequences of a top-down response that dramatically altered the authority of local governments to respond to public health crisis. 
The book, Our Darkest Hours: New York County Leadership & the COVID Pandemic, is available for purchase online from Archway Publishing, Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.
An excerpt of the book can be viewed here. For a review copy, please contact Mark LaVigne at Please include your street address.
“We felt very strongly that the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic needed to be shared so that the next generation of local leaders is better prepared when disaster strikes,” said Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, the immediate past president of the NYSCEA. “Too many lives are being lost and too many livelihoods disrupted to let the experience gained during this crisis be lost to history. Now, as our state is confronting the latest resurgence of this virus under the leadership of Governor Hochul, it's more important than ever to take stock of how the state and counties can partner together in a more effective way to keep our residents safe and businesses open.”
Part one of the book is a collection of oral histories from county executives that provide a glimpse into the fear, struggle, triumph, and pain they faced while working to protect their communities. Part two provides a public policy account of the fractured federal and state response to COVID-19, and the difficulty involved in dealing with ever-changing policies. The appendices include material relating to congressional actions; the state's executive orders; cases and COVID deaths by county by month from March 15, 2020 to March 15, 2021; and finally, a timeline of events.
“We felt that we owed it to the county leaders who come after us to provide an accurate and unvarnished account of the pandemic so that when it's their turn to step up as onsite incident commanders, they don't have to re-learn the hard lessons that many of us learned,” said NYSCEA President Marcus Molinaro. “We're entering a new chapter for New York both in terms of the most recent ‘Delta wave,' but also a new chapter for potential cooperation between the state and local government that will enable us to put our decades of experience fighting public health crises to maximal use.” 
“Overall, this project provides engaging insight into what it was like on the ground during the worst public health emergency in a century,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario, one of the book's authors. “Our hope is that this work will serve the needs of both practitioners and public-policy experts.”
Our Darkest Hours: New York County Leadership and the COVID Pandemic
By Stephen Acquario, Peter Golden and Mark LaVigne
Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 318 pages | ISBN 9781665705493
Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 318 pages | ISBN 9781665705479
E-Book | 318 pages | ISBN 9781665705486
Media Contact: Mark LaVigne | | 518-465-1473 x206