Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente is among New York State county executives featured in a new book highlighting the various aspects of the fight against COVID-19 in the Empire State.

''Our Darkest Hours: County Leadership and the COVID Pandemic'' is written by Stephen Acquario, Mark Lavigne and Peter Golden, and commissioner by the New York State County Executives Association through the New York State Association of Counties. Part one includes first-person accounts and oral histories from county executives about the 'fear, struggle, triumph and pain' faced by local leaders, according to a released from Picente's office announcing the book's debut. Part two covers the 'fractured federal and state response' to the pandemic, and 'the economic impact of New York on Pause, the unprecedented state executive powers and the diminution of local home rule', the release stated.

That last line seems to indicate that this book will come with plenty of criticism of, and in contrast to Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose own book ''American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic'' - which garnered plenty of criticism on its own in part because it was written prior to the deadliest and most damaging days of the virus-fight in the Empire State.

book cover - ''Our Darkest Hours: New York County Leadership and the COVID Pandemic''
book cover - ''Our Darkest Hours: New York County Leadership and the COVID Pandemic''

NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario said of the state's county executives “They were the ones on the ground working 15-hour days, seven-days a week for 150 days, coordinating efforts to secure PPE, enforce mask and social distancing mandates while also encouraging residents to check on their neighbors and support struggling local businesses. These are stories that needed to be documented for posterity. They must not be forgotten.”

This excerpt of a chapter from Picente, via his office:

In early March, as the world was learning more of what was to become a pandemic, a situation occurred in my community that proved to be the precursor of what was ahead. Two local physicians, a husband and wife, returned from Italy with symptoms of COVID-19. They began seeing patients before they felt too sick to go to work and canceled the rest of their appointments. That incident set off a rush of panic in the community, and it then became evident that we were dealing with something different than a run-of-the-mill illness. Both physicians tested negative for the virus, but people were becoming noticeably anxious.

“Our Darkest Hours: County Leadership and the COVID Pandemic” is available for $19.99 through Archway Publishing and Amazon. There is also an e-book version available for $4.99.

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