Aides to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo actually rewrote a report to intentionally conceal the number of nursing home COVID deaths last year as the pandemic was continuing to spread – and even as Cuomo was beginning to write a book hailing his own successes in dealing with the outbreak.
According to the New York Times, the governor’s office received the report written by state health officials in June of last year detailing how more than 9,000 nursing home residents had already died from the disease, shortly after the governor had mandated that care facilities accept sick patients and risk spreading the virus among their vulnerable senior population.
Those numbers didn’t make the governor or his team look good – so they revised it and cut out the death toll, the NYT reports. Instead, a draft of the original report obtained by the Times shows health officials had put the actual death count at 9,250 - roughly 50 percent higher than the figure the Cuomo administration released to the public.
The Times added that this appears to be one of the first efforts by the governor’s office to conceal the true deadly impact of the governor’s screw-up, an effort that continued for months as state officials sought to cover up what they’d done - and even as the liberal media and then-presidential candidate Joe Biden continued to hail Cuomo as the "gold standard" for leadership during the crisis while blaming Trump for COVID deaths.
That timeline is notable, considering Cuomo had previously claimed his office had intentionally underreported his state’s nursing home deaths out of fear that Trump’s Justice Department would launch a “politically motivated” investigation into why his state had the highest nursing home fatality rate in the country. But the New York Times says this new revelation that Cuomo’s office revised a health department report all the way back in June flies in the face of that claim, because it proves Cuomo’s office had already started covering up the death count months before federal officials came knocking and asking for the data.
The Times reports:
“The central role played by the governor’s top aides reflected the lengths to which Mr. Cuomo has gone in the middle of a deadly pandemic to control data, brush aside public health expertise and bolster his position as a national leader in the fight against the coronavirus."
The governor had claimed the rule mandating nursing homes accept sick people was put in place to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed with COVID patients; however, critics have pointed out that then-President Trump sent the UNS Comfort, a U.S. Navy hospital ship, to New York City to assist with treating COVID victims, but that the ship wasn't used because Cuomo claimed at the time that it was "too hard to disinfect." The ship eventually left NYC in April.
A $52-million-dollar field hospital was also set up in New York City, but only treated 79 patients while its staff said they played on their cell phones all day.
State and federal lawmakers are now demanding answers and an investigation is underway into the Cuomo administration's cover-up of the deaths of thousands of elderly New Yorkers who's families have been left for nearly a year without good explanations for why their loved ones were exposed to the coronavirus in the first place, considering the virus was known to primarily affect the elderly and considering help was available to deal with the overflow of local patients.
(Cover Photo: Diana Robinson)