New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to downplay the deaths of residents in nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic was larger than first alleged and spanned a period of months.
Aides to Cuomo engaged in an effort to overrule state health officials from releasing actual nursing home death totals to lawmakers and the public during a span of five months in 2020, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
Issues concerning the altering of nursing home data during the pandemic first arose in May of last year, when the Daily Caller News Foundation published an article showing Cuomo’s office manipulated data to boost the governor’s image.
An unpublished study under the watch of Cuomo’s aides stated 35 percent of all deaths from COVID by July of 2020 were in nursing homes, the Times reported. However, the published report revised the number down to 21 percent.
Breaking News: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office repeatedly prevented state health officials from releasing the number of New Yorkers who died in nursing homes during the pandemic, according to interviews and newly unearthed documents. https://t.co/JXbIbiiDdo
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 28, 2021
State Health Commissioner, Howard Zucker, had also drafted a letter that was intended for the state assembly speaker during their investigation into nursing home deaths, the Times reported, pinning the number at 9,835.
The letter, along with a second draft, were never sent to the speaker amidst pressure and strict watch from Cuomo’s aides, the Times reported.
A lawyer representing Cuomo’s office, Elkan Abramowitz, justified the administration’s decision to the Times by stating they were “reluctant” to release unreliable data. (RELATED: Gov. Cuomo Is Running Weekly COVID-19 Calls Because Biden And Harris Won’t Show Up)
“The whole brouhaha here is overblown to the point where there are cynical suggestions offered for the plain and simple truth that the chamber wanted only to release accurate information that they believed was totally unassailable.” Abramowitz told the Times.
Cuomo is also facing a sexual misconduct investigation after several women accused the governor of sexual harassment during his time in office.