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New York's health commissioner tells a Phish tale

A recent New Yorker article about the measles outbreak in New York and across the country included some little-known facts about Dr. Howard Zucker, the state's health commissioner.

Zucker, according to the magazine, graduated from high school at 15, from college at 19 and from medical school at 22. The dean told him he was the country's youngest doctor, and colleagues later took to calling him "Doogie Howser." (Kids, Google it.)

He's never tried coffee, tobacco or marijuana, we learned.

But the Zucker highlight was a self-deprecating anecdote from last summer, when he had to cancel a concert in Watkins Glen for a certain Vermont jam band.

The New Yorker said it was because of the threat of storms, but Democrat & Chronicle coverage from August 2018 said serious concerns about water quality, following severe flooding in the area, were the driving consideration.

“Someone came to me and said, ‘I think we need to cancel fish.’ ‘Why is that my problem?’ I said. ‘Why do I have to worry about fish? Shouldn’t that be the DEC?’ " Zucker recalled, referring to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. "‘Not fish. P-H-I-S-H.’ I hadn’t heard of this Phish.”

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