The governor of New York is criticized for his administration’s handling of data on deaths from COVID-19 in nursing homes.
The governor of the U.S. state of New York said his administration should have released information on coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes more quickly, after reports revealed that thousands more residents had died from the COVID-19 that official state counts had previously acknowledged.
At a press conference on Monday, Andrew Cuomo said he had taken “full responsibility” for creating an information “vacuum” that contributed to confusion and misinformation.
“We should have done a better job providing more public information” on nursing home deaths, Cuomo said, calling it the “mistake” that allowed “skepticism, cynicism and theories of the plot ‘to settle down.
“We made a mistake in creating a vacuum when we didn’t provide information,” he continued. “I take full responsibility for it.”
State lawmakers have called for inquiries, to strip Cuomo of his emergency powers and even for his resignation after new details emerged this week on why some nursing home data was withheld for months, despite demands from lawmakers and others.
Cuomo admitted that precise information should have been provided more quickly, but insisted the state was not intentionally underreporting the death toll.
The New York State Department of Health (DOH) dramatically underestimated the number of deaths from COVID-19 among long-term care residents for months. It now stands at nearly 15,000, against 8,500 previously disclosed.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James released a report on January 28 that “more nursing home residents have died from COVID-19 than [DOH] published nursing home data reflected
The total may have been “underestimated by up to 50%,” according to the report.
“Investigations also found that nursing home failure to follow infection control protocols put residents at increased risk of harm, and facilities with lower staffing levels during the pandemic had lower rates of higher mortality rates from COVID-19.
James’ office is continuing its investigation by examining more than 20 nursing facilities.
Also on Monday, Cuomo addressed a Newscast Gov. Secretary Melissa DeRosa told lawmakers in Democratic states that the Cuomo administration was reluctant to provide legislative data on nursing home deaths because it feared information would be used against them by the president of then Donald Trump.
DeRosa, according to a phone call obtained by the New York Post, said the state ‘froze’ for fear the real numbers’ would be used against us’ by federal prosecutors’ amid the calls from Trump to have Cuomo’s response to COVID-19 investigated. by the US Department of Justice.
Cuomo said his staff informed lawmakers of a Justice Department request for retirement home data and were told the Cuomo administration would prioritize the Justice Department’s request compared to that of the legislator.
The governor of New York, whose administration received praise for handling the pandemic after an initial outbreak in March and April last year, has long been criticized for a March 25 order aimed at refer infected patients to elderly care centers in hospitals.
The DOH released a report in the middle of last year saying the policy, which was rolled back in May, was “not a big factor” in the death toll.
Cuomo said Monday that “COVID was already present in 98% of nursing homes where COVID patients were sent.”