Cuomo Defends Nursing Home Coronavirus Reporting

Tuesday, 16 Feb, 2021

A senior aide for Cuomo apologized on Friday to state lawmakers for the governor's office withholding requested data showing the death toll in nursing homes from COVID-19.

"We remain locked in a footrace between the infection rate and the vaccination rate", Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Sunday.

The numbers, while accounted for in the full state death totals to the state, were not ascribed to nursing homes for residents who died in hospitals rather than within the facilities. "COVID got into the nursing homes by staff, walking into the nursing home", said Gov. Cuomo.

On Monday, Cuomo insisted that preparing data for the DOJ, which requested nursing home information in July in October, took precedence over state lawmakers, and that lawmakers were aware. Assemblyman Michael Montesano, of Long Island, says he plans to ask the state Legislature to consider impeaching the governor in the wake of the scandal.

"I want to make sure people have all the facts, the facts, the information". He said this was at the time when health experts said COVID-19 could only be spread by symptomatic people. McCain tweeted in response to a New York Post report about Cuomo's negligence.

"The other thing was that [the Cuomo administration] was not following CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] guidance", she said. "We are talking about lives that were lost here so these Democratic state senators and the Democratic congressional delegation need to grow a spine and grow some political courage and stand up for what's right". That's nearly half of the state's 36,882 Covid deaths.

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"Executive powers have nothing to do with nursing homes and the legislature can overturn executive measures", Cuomo said during his news conference.

"We paused the State Legislature's request while we were finishing the DOJ request".

Within hours of the report's release, the state came out with new data that showed an additional 3,800 deaths - nursing home residents who died in hospitals. He said the delay in providing the full information spurred "skepticism, cynicism, and conspiracy theories which furthered confusion".

"Nature abhors a vacuum, so does the political system".

Not immediately giving the state the data it requested created a "void" of facts, Cuomo said, which allowed misinformation to thrive.

Responding to a reporter's question later, he added: "I accept responsibility for that". We told both houses, the Assembly and the Senate, that we had a DOJ request for information and we were prioritizing that. He published a book in October titled, "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic". "In my opinion, yes, and I think that's what created the void".