Thursday's report specifically stated that "a larger number of nursing home residents died from COVID-19 than the New York State Department of Health's (DOH) published nursing home data reflected and may have been undercounted by as much as 50 percent".
The new numbers show that more than 12,700 nursing home residents died of COVID-19, far more than the state's official tally of over 8,500 nursing home deaths.
Beginning in April, New York's health department briefly instructed nursing home facilities in the early part of the Covid-19 pandemic to accept patients who had tested positive for the virus, with Cuomo citing Centers for Disease Control guidance that advised facilities to accept patients for whom they are able to care.
Cuomo then blurted, "But who cares?" At the time, Cuomo called the probe "political".
"Attorney General Tish James validates the cover-up of nursing home deaths, and the only question remains is why this administration chose to lie to the public for months", said Ron Kim, a state legislator from Queens whose district's nursing homes were battered by the pandemic.
The attorney general's report also took aim at New York's controversial March 25 policy that sought to create more space in hospitals by releasing recovering COVID-19 patients into nursing homes, which critics contended was a driving factor in causing nursing home outbreaks.
"When you say there was undercounting, that's just factually inaccurate", insisted NYS Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker, in response to the first question raised. "33 [percent], 28 [percent], died in a hospital, died in a nursing home-they died!"
When the first coronavirus wave hit NY state last spring, nursing homes and assisted living facilities were devastated. The transfer data is reported by nursing homes, and was hard to obtain quickly during the height of the pandemic, she said.
Some of the most popular news programs on TV offered little-to-no coverage to the growing controversy surrounding Democratic New York Gov.
Dexter Wilson said he thinks many nursing homes had agendas.
Governor Cuomo, who has been praised for his transparency about the state's Covid-19 crisis, has also been criticised for his administration's Covid-19 response in nursing homes since the spring, when NY was the epicentre of the US Covid epidemic.
Zucker said that because the AG's report refers to the count of people who were in nursing homes but transferred to hospitals and later died, it does not change the total count of deaths.
"The report affirmed everything the commissioner said for the past year", Cuomo said, deflecting what many people have said is a damning expose of a massive failure by his administration during the worst public health crisis in a century.
NY officials say that around 8,500 of those were elderly people in care homes.
"The attorney general's initial findings of wrongdoing by certain nursing home operators are reprehensible", and the Department of Health "continues to follow up on all allegations of misconduct by operators and is actively working in partnership with the OAG (Office of the Attorney General) to enforce the law accordingly", he added.
"It's good news that Governor Cuomo heard the voice of New York City's struggling restaurant industry and is lifting the ban on indoor dining", the organization said on its website. The governor eventually reversed the decision, but not before thousands died from COVID-19 in NY nursing homes. We've also said there have been hospital deaths.
"But we're below the national average in number of deaths in nursing homes".
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