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

Headline Roundup February 15th, 2021

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.

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

From the Center
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Monday defended his administration’s pandemic response, while accepting some fault himself, as scrutiny mounts over how the state handled COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.

The New York governor confirmed in a press conference that the state Department of Health “paused” state lawmakers’ inquiry into nursing home death data to prioritize dealing with the general pandemic and the Department of Justice’s request for similar information in August.

Cuomo noted that both chambers of the state legislature were informed of the department’s decision at...

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From the Right
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OPINION

News that Gov. Cuomo’s office had radically understated the number of COVID-19 deaths in New York nursing homes last year deflated his media image as a straight-talking teller of home truths. Now The Post has reported that the governor covered up the extent of the problem specifically because his office didn’t want President Trump to “turn this into a giant political football” by instructing the Department of Justice to investigate Cuomo’s handling of the situation.

In other words, Cuomo buried evidence and impeded a federal investigation, hoping a new...

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From the Left
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Admitting a degree of fault for the first time, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Monday that his administration’s lack of transparency about the scope of coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes in New York was a mistake.

By failing to answer questions from state lawmakers, the public and the news media, Mr. Cuomo acknowledged, the state created a void that was “filled with skepticism, and cynicism, and conspiracy theories which furthered the confusion.”

But he stopped short of a full apology for his handling of information about the death toll...

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