Report: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Failed to Account for 4,100 Nursing Home Deaths

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at New York's Yankee Stadium, Monday, July 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew

A recent audit from the New York state comptroller has revealed disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo failed to account for 4,100 nursing home deaths during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The audit found that Health Department officials at times underreported the full death toll by as much as 50 percent from April 2020 to February 2021, as Mr. Cuomo faced increasing scrutiny over whether his administration had intentionally concealed the actual number of deaths,” reported the New York Times.

New York state comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli called the 41-page report showing that the Health Department would support Andrew Cuomo’s narrative by suppressing the death “extremely troubling,” charging that the public was intentionally misled:

Families have a right to know if their loved one’s COVID-19 death was counted, but many still don’t have answers from the state Department of Health. Our audit findings are extremely troubling. The public was misled by those at the highest level of state government through distortion and suppression of the facts when New Yorkers deserved the truth.

The pandemic is not over, and I am hopeful the current administration will make changes to improve accountability and protect lives. An important step would be for DOH to provide the families who lost loved ones with answers as to the actual number of nursing homes residents who died. These families are still grieving, and they deserve no less.

Scandal first hit Cuomo in early 2021 when it was revealed that his administration directed nursing homes to accept recovering coronavirus patients, leading to a spike in elderly deaths. Trouble worsened for Cuomo as more and more reports revealed that his administration intentionally suppressed the death toll to protect the governor from political fallout. At the height of the pandemic, Cuomo was a media sensation, with reporters hailing him as the perfect opposite of President Trump.

In November 2020, Cuomo was even presented with the 2020 International Emmy Founders Award for what the International Academy called “his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and his masterful use of television to inform and calm people around the world.”

That Emmy was later rescinded when Cuomo resigned from office due to a string of sexual assault allegations.

According to the New York Times, the Cuomo administration were able to suppress nursing home death tolls by only counting “only residents who had died in such facilities, excluding residents who died in hospitals,” which lead to “an artificially lower tally of nursing home deaths that Mr. Cuomo used to argue New York had fared better than other states.”

While Cuomo argued that those deaths were being included in the state’s overall death toll, the comptroller report refuted that.

“Rather than providing accurate and reliable information during a public health emergency, the department instead conformed its presentation to the executive’s narrative, often presenting data in a manner that misled the public,” the report said.

 

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