New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing allegations of covering up the true death toll of the novel coronavirus pandemic in New York’s nursing homes, according to a new report by the New York Times. One of Cuomo’s aides, Melissa DeRosa, allegedly acknowledged in a conversation with state lawmakers that the Cuomo administration “withheld data because it feared an investigation by the Trump Justice Department,” saying in a virtual conference that when the Department of Justice sought data from the administration over the summer, “basically, we froze.”
The Times describes a partial transcript of the call in which DeRosa said further: “We were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys, and what we start saying, was going to be used against us and we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation.”
DeRosa made an effort to clarify her statements later, according to the Times, stating that she was attempting to attribute delays in reporting the nursing home coronavirus death figures to state legislators because it was obliged to respond to the federal government first. “I was explaining that when we received the D.O.J. inquiry, we needed to temporarily set aside the Legislature’s request to deal with the federal request first… We informed the houses of this at the time,” she said.
State lawmakers have responded to the news with harsh condemnation, going so far as to consider removing Governor Cuomo’s emergency powers. State Senate majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat, said in a statement that “Crucial information should never be withheld from entities that are empowered to pursue oversight.” Representative Tom Reed, a Republican, said “It is time to move past the lies and finally uncover the full truth,” according to the Times. Senator Andrew Gounardes, a Democrat, said the news about the alleged nursing home coverup represents “a betrayal of trust” by the Cuomo Administration. He went on to say, “There needs to be full accountability for what happened, and the legislature needs to reconsider its broad grant of emergency powers to the governor.”
As of last week, New York’s nursing home Covid-19 death toll stood at approximately 15,000 deaths, both confirmed and presumed. That figure stood at 12,743 at the end of January. More information on the alleged nursing home coronavirus death toll coverup is available via the New York Times.
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