New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) is facing criticism over accusations that he vastly underreported COVID data affecting nursing home residents to protect his reputation.
According to a lengthy report that New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) published last month, the “official” death toll for nursing home residents was off by more than 4,000.
This week, it was confirmed that Cuomo’s top aides were responsible for the coverup.
According to witnesses, Cuomo’s aides removed off-site deaths from a July 2020 report on nursing homes deaths. In other words, they counted deaths occurring inside nursing homes but did not count deaths occurring after patients moved to hospitals. This “edit” prompted arguments with health officials who were also working on the report. Many of them resigned, but others played along in fear they would lose their jobs.
Under pressure from James, Governor Cuomo admitted that he withheld the true Covid data due to concerns the Trump Administration would use it to launch a politically-motivated investigation.
According to the New York Times, the coverup began around the time Cuomo started writing a book touting his successes during the pandemic. “The central role played by the governor’s top aides reflected the lengths to which Mr. Cuomo has gone in the middle of a deadly pandemic to control data, brush aside public health expertise, and bolster his position as a national leader in the fight against the coronavirus,” reports the Times.
To date, more than 47,000 New Yorkers have died from COVID, including 15,000 nursing home residents.
New York’s disproportionately high rate of nursing home deaths has been blamed on a March 2020 directive – issued by Cuomo – which forced nursing homes to accept infected patients to create more space in hospitals.
The state’s Department of Health claims the directive was “not a significant factor in nursing home fatalities,” though there is little reason to believe the agency now. Governor Cuomo also gave special immunity to nursing home officials, which caused them to make financially-motivated decisions that put the health of staff and residents at risk.