Headline RoundupFebruary 16th, 2021

Cuomo Defends Pandemic Response, Says Pausing Nursing Home Death Numbers Was a Mistake

Summary from the AllSides News Team

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday defended his administration’s COVID-19 response and acknowledged that the lack of transparency regarding COVID-19 related deaths in nursing homes in New York was a mistake. Cuomo said the state Health Department “paused” state lawmakers’ inquiry into nursing home death data to focus on addressing the general pandemic and the Justice Department's request for similar information in August; Cuomo also said that both chambers of state legislature were informed of the decision. This comes after Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa told state legislators the administration “froze” releasing information about nursing home deaths out of concern the DOJ would launch a federal investigation. New York Attorney General Letitia James also accused the Cuomo administration of severely undercounting those deaths connected to nursing homes. In late January, the state had reported 8,500 deaths in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, leaving out those who died outside of the facilities, such as after being transferred to a hospital. A more accurate number, according to James' probe, would be more than 13,000 COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes. The story received wide coverage from outlets across the political spectrum. Voices from the left and center criticized Cuomo's handling of the pandemic; some voices from the right also accused the media of enabling Cuomo's cover-up.

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