n a contradictory twist of events, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the state has always “fully reported” COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, following a report that his administration lied about numbers.
While New York did report the number of individuals who died on-site of nursing homes between May of 2020 and January of 2021, the figures failed to include residents who died after being transported to a hospital.
“To be clear, all the deaths in the nursing homes and in the hospitals were always fully, publicly and accurately reported,” Cuomo said in his first press conference since the reports surfaced. “The numbers were the numbers, always.”
When asked if he felt the need to apologize, he said his team’s failure to publicly address concerns created a “void” that allowed the spread of “conspiracy theories.”
“We made a mistake in creating the void,” he said. “We made a mistake in creating the void when we didn’t provide information, it allowed press people, cynics, politicians to fill a void.”
In January, the Cuomo administration revealed it had undercounted nursing home deaths by nearly 50 percent. At least 12,743 nursing home residents had died, which included approximately 4,238 deaths that weren’t included in the New York State Department of Health’s official tally.
But, interestingly enough, at the beginning of the pandemic, the health department was reporting all nursing home deaths regardless of whether the resident died at the facility or a hospital, the Daily Caller reports.
The state began avoiding tallying nursing home deaths at hospitals in early May, around the same time Cuomo revoked the order requiring nursing homes to accept patients who were infected with the virus.
The misrepresentation of data triggered bipartisan backlash, with even New York City mayor Bill de Blasio calling for Cuomo to be stripped of his emergency powers, Fox News reports.
Cuomo blamed the “toxic political environment” for the backlash his administration has received as of late.
“The last thing we wanted to do, the last thing I wanted to do, was to aggravate a terrible situation,” Cuomo said.
New York democrat Assemblyman Ron Kim blasted the governor for his cover-up.
“As state lawmakers, this is not about being a Democrat or Republican or whichever party you’re from. We have a moral duty to speak up against their egregious actions and hold everyone involved accountable, including the governor,” Kim said in a Fox News interview.
“If there’s nothing to hide, why didn’t they hand over the information when we asked for it?” Kim added. “The information was available. They could have just disclosed it. But they chose not to, so there’s a distrust among the public right now.”
Kim called for a “thorough investigation” to provide the “15,000 families that lost loved ones and the families that have loved ones at the nursing homes still suffering…a sense of justice and trust again in our state’s ability to protect them.”
It seems as though Cuomo placed the blame on everyone but himself, simply trying to protect his name and administration.