New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was long praised for his state’s effective response to novel coronavirus. Cuomo’s rapid shutdowns and social distancing dictates were among the strictest in the nation, and have been credited with saving tens of thousands of lives.
“In ordinary times, Mr Cuomo’s relentlessness and bullying drive New Yorkers crazy,” the Times once wrote. “In the age of the coronavirus, they soothe our battered nerves.”
However, Cuomo is now under increasing fire for allegedly covering up coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes across the state.
In a recent press conference, Cuomo—for the first time—admitted that New York had underreported nursing home deaths by almost 50%.
According to The Guardian, the alleged underreporting isn’t even the worst part of the story. The New York Times had earlier reported that a “top Cuomo aide” was recorded by fellow Democrats, saying that the governor was concealing coronavirus deaths to avoid potential political retribution from the Trump administration.
While Cuomo has since maintained that neither he nor his office intentionally concealed statistics, he did say that “there was a delay” in reporting deaths.
In spite of Cuomo’s relative popular, New York legislators have begun to call for an investigation into any potential misconduct.
Carolina Rodriguez, a spokesperson for New York’s congressional Democrats, slammed the governor, saying that Cuomo is not entitled to alternate truths.
“The governor,” Rodriguez said, “is not entitled to his own facts or an alternate timeline of events.”
The New York Times notes that New York has reported about 15,000 coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes across the state. But through January, the governor’s office—along with other state departments—had scarcely counted half.
Two weeks ago, says the Times, New York Attorney General Letitia James accuse the Cuomo administration of underreporting nursing home deaths.
Shortly afterward, the state updated its death tally—nearly doubling the number of nursing home deaths in the course.
James’s investigation, and the state’s subsequent response, has fueled rumors that Cuomo was intentionally hiding COVID deaths to deflect blame from one of New York’s more controversial practices—that of sending nursing home patients who’d tested positive for coronavirus from the hospital back to their residential care centers.
The Guardian recalls how, earlier this year, Cuomo was invited to address the Democratic National Convention—his invitation was meant to highlight Democratic leadership during the pandemic.
“We climbed the impossible mountain, and right now we are on the other side,” Cuomo said.
However, Cuomo’s record is now up for question.