Gov. Cuomo’s coronavirus nursing home scandal: 5 things to know



New Yorkers are nonetheless adapting to the brand new regular almost one 12 months after the Empire State was successfully shut down – if not considerably slowed down – amid considerations surrounding the unfold of the novel coronavirus.

However whilst time handed and sure way of life modifications – face masks, hand sanitizer, social distancing – have grow to be every day habits, long-asked questions nonetheless loom in relation to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s response to sure elements of the pandemic.

Specifically, some officers and the general public have criticized the Cuomo administration’s dealing with of COVID-19 in nursing houses – and the information surrounding these circumstances.

A scathing report from New York Lawyer Normal Letitia James describes how the governor’s workplace might have undercounted the variety of COVID-linked nursing dwelling deaths by greater than 50%.


And one of many largest bombshells arose late Thursday, when the New York Put up revealed that Cuomo’s high aide, Melissa DeRosa, admitted throughout a convention name with Democratic leaders that the administration hid unfavorable details about the state’s nursing dwelling COVID-19 deaths out of concern that it “was going for use in opposition to us.”

Right here’s a rundown of among the extra necessary occasions or particulars of Cuomo’s nursing dwelling scandal:


The primary-known an infection within the state was found March 1 in a well being care employee who just lately returned from Iran. Two days later, the state received its second case, a lawyer from the suburb of New Rochelle.

By March 10, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had declared a “containment space” in New Rochelle that shuttered space faculties and homes of worship. That very same day, the metropolitan space noticed its first fatality: a person who labored at a harness monitor in Yonkers and lived in New Jersey.

By March 12, the state had banned all gatherings of greater than 500 folks, darkening Broadway theaters and sports activities arenas. A day later, the primary New York resident died, an 82-year-old lady with emphysema.

New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice De Blasio closed New York Metropolis’s faculties March 15.

Extra extreme restrictions got here March 20, when Cuomo ordered all nonessential staff to remain dwelling, barred gatherings of any measurement and instructed anybody out in public to remain no less than 6 toes from different folks. On the time, solely 35 New Yorkers had been killed by the virus.

By the top of March, New York’s dying toll from the outbreak surpassed 1,000.

As of Friday, there have been 1,522,785 instances reported in New York, and 45,597 deaths, based on information compiled by Johns Hopkins College & Medication.

In accordance with a Thursday report from The Related Press, greater than 9,000 recovering COVID sufferers within the Empire State have been launched from hospitals into nursing houses early within the pandemic underneath a controversial directive from Cuomo’s administration.


The brand new variety of 9,056 recovering sufferers despatched to lots of of nursing houses is greater than 40% greater than what the state well being division beforehand launched. And it raises new questions as as to whether a March 25 directive from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration helped unfold illness and dying amongst residents, a cost the state disputed.


The Cuomo administration’s March 25 directive barred nursing houses from refusing folks simply because that they had COVID-19. It was supposed to release area in hospitals swamped within the early days of the pandemic. It got here underneath criticism from advocates for nursing dwelling residents and their kin, who stated it had the potential to unfold the virus in a state that on the time already had the nation’s highest nursing dwelling dying toll.

In its reply to an AP freedom of knowledge request from Might, the state well being division this week launched two figures: a beforehand disclosed rely of 6,327 admissions of sufferers instantly from hospitals and a brand new rely of two,729 “readmissions” of sufferers despatched again from a hospital to the nursing dwelling the place that they had lived earlier than.

Earlier than the state launched any information, the AP carried out its personal survey and located no less than 4,500 such sufferers.

State well being officers contend that asymptomatic nursing dwelling workers, not recovering COVID-19 sufferers, have been the driving consider nursing dwelling outbreaks. They usually have repeatedly famous that by regulation, nursing houses weren’t supposed to just accept anybody they couldn’t adequately take care of.

“At the very least 98% of nursing dwelling amenities within the state had COVID of their facility earlier than their first admission or readmission, and as we’ve seen throughout the nation, the main driver of infections seems to be from asymptomatic employees via no fault of their very own,” stated state Well being Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker in an announcement to the AP.

He added that the March 25 directive adopted federal steerage, and that the proportion of coronavirus deaths statewide that occurred in nursing houses didn’t change from the spring to the autumn — after the directive was reversed.


In July, an inner report from inside Cuomo’s workplace discovered his March 25 directive that despatched 1000’s of recovering coronavirus sufferers into nursing houses was “not a big issue” within the outbreak, stirring criticism.

Scientists, well being care professionals and elected officers assailed the report launched to start with of July for flawed methodology and selective stats that sidestepped the precise affect of the March 25 order, which by the state’s personal rely ushered greater than 6,300 recovering virus sufferers into nursing houses on the peak of the pandemic.

Some additionally accused the state of utilizing the veneer of a scientific research to absolve the Democratic governor by reaching the identical conclusion he had been floating for weeks — that unknowingly contaminated nursing dwelling workers have been the main drivers of the outbreaks.

The report contended the virus’ rampant unfold via the state’s nursing houses was propelled by greater than 20,000 contaminated dwelling staffers, lots of whom saved going to work unaware that they had the virus in March and April. One other 17,500 staff have been contaminated via early June.

The 33-page state report flatly states: “that nursing dwelling admissions from hospitals weren’t a driver of nursing dwelling infections or fatalities.” However the Cuomo administration didn’t launch how precisely they reached the report’s conclusions, which backed up Cuomo’s repeated defenses.

The report famous that the variety of residents dying at nursing houses peaked on April 8, across the similar time as COVID-19 deaths statewide, however almost every week earlier than the height of coronavirus sufferers being transferred from hospitals.

It additionally stated 80% of the 310 nursing houses that admitted coronavirus sufferers already had a confirmed or suspected case amongst its residents or employees earlier than the directive was issued. And it contends the median variety of coronavirus sufferers despatched to nursing houses had been hospitalized for 9 days, the identical interval that the research stated it doubtless takes for the virus to now not be contagious.

Some subsequently accused the state of utilizing the veneer of a scientific research to absolve the Democratic governor by reaching the identical conclusion he had been floating for weeks — that unknowingly contaminated nursing dwelling workers have been the main drivers of the outbreaks.



Cuomo stated in August he could be releasing a e book wherein he mirrored on his expertise with pandemic to date, and supplied management recommendation and a glimpse into his relationship with then-President Donald Trump.

Crown launched Cuomo’s “American Disaster” in October.

“In his personal voice, Andrew Cuomo chronicles in ‘American Disaster’ the ingenuity and sacrifice required of so many to battle the pandemic,” based on Crown, “sharing his private reflections and the decision-making that formed his coverage, and provides his frank accounting and evaluation of his interactions with the federal authorities and the White Home, in addition to different state and native political and well being officers.”

Cuomo was praised over the course of a number of months earlier than his e book launch, whereas additionally dealing with criticism for the excessive variety of deaths at New York nursing houses.

He had stated in July he was pondering of a e book, commenting throughout a radio interview on WAMC that he needed to doc the “whole expertise, as a result of if we don’t study from this then it is going to actually compound the entire disaster that we’ve gone via.”

Months later, in November, it was revealed that he would obtain an Worldwide Emmy award for his once-daily televised briefings relating to COVID-19 within the state.

The Worldwide Academy of Tv Arts & Sciences, whose members embrace media and leisure figures from over 60 international locations and 500 corporations, introduced on the time that Cuomo was being honored with the academy’s Founders Award for utilizing his briefings to tell and calm the general public. Earlier recipients embrace former Vice President Al Gore, Oprah Winfrey, and director Steven Spielberg.


Knowledge launched in late January confirmed New York might have undercounted the variety of COVID-19 deaths at nursing houses by greater than 50%, solidifying beforehand reported considerations relating to the Empire State’s pandemic response at such amenities.

A 76-page report launched by James’ workplace on Jan. 28 discovered New York State might have undercounted COVID-19 deaths amongst nursing dwelling residents by 1000’s –  backing up the findings of an Related Press investigation final 12 months that centered on the truth that New York is without doubt one of the solely states within the nation that rely residents who died on nursing dwelling property and never those that later died in hospitals.

The tactic of counting allowed Cuomo to boast that his state had a decrease proportion of nursing dwelling deaths in comparison with different states.


However such an undercount would have meant the state’s official tally of 8,711 nursing dwelling deaths to the virus was really greater than 13,000, boosting New York from No. 6 to highest within the nation.

“Whereas we can’t deliver again the people we misplaced to this disaster, this report seeks to supply transparency that the general public deserves,” James stated in an announcement on the time.

Cuomo later informed reporters that “everyone did the most effective they may.”

Secretary to Governor Melissa DeRosa and NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo as he makes an announcement and holds media briefing at 3rd Avenue office.  (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Secretary to Governor Melissa DeRosa and NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo as he makes an announcement and holds media briefing at third Avenue workplace.  (Photograph by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket through Getty Photos)

“It’s not about pointing fingers or blame, it’s that this turned a political soccer, proper?” Cuomo famous in the course of the press convention. “Look, whether or not an individual died in a hospital or died in a nursing dwelling … folks died. Individuals died. … By the way in which, the identical persons are dying at this time.”

The AP evaluation in August concluded that the state might be undercounting deaths by as a lot as 65%, based mostly on discrepancies between its totals and numbers being reported to federal regulators. That evaluation was, like James’ report, based mostly on solely a slice of information, relatively than a complete look.

James’ investigators checked out a pattern of 62 of the state’s roughly 600 nursing houses. They reported 1,914 deaths of residents from COVID-19, whereas the state Division of Well being logged just one,229 deaths at those self same amenities. One unnamed facility, for instance, had an official dying toll of 11 however the legal professional common’s probe discovered that 40 had really died.

The report from James, a fellow Democratic official, undercut Cuomo’s frequent argument that the criticism of his dealing with of the virus in nursing houses was a part of a political “blame sport,” and it was a vindication for 1000’s of households who believed their family members have been being omitted from counts to advance the governor’s picture as a pandemic hero.

However then, late Thursday, Secretary to the Governor DeRosa, his high aide, revealed throughout a current convention name that the Cuomo administration hid unfavorable details about the state’s nursing dwelling COVID-19 deaths out of concern that it “was going for use in opposition to us,” the New York Put up first reported.

Chatting with Democratic leaders throughout a current convention name, DeRosa stated the governor’s workplace officers “froze” after then-President Donald Trump turned the pandemic into “a large political soccer” and started tweeting concerning the state’s shoddy dealing with, based on the report.

“He begins tweeting that we killed everybody in nursing houses,” DeRosa reportedly stated. “He begins going after [New Jersey Gov. Phil] Murphy, begins going after [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom, begins going after [Michigan Gov.] Gretchen Whitmer.”

Trump then instructed the U.S. Division of Justice to analyze the state’s response, she continued.

“And mainly, we froze,” she reportedly stated. “As a result of then we have been able the place we weren’t certain if what we have been going to provide to the Division of Justice, or what we give to you guys, what we begin saying, was going for use in opposition to us whereas we weren’t certain if there was going to be an investigation.”

She reportedly added: “That performed a really massive position into this.”

In accordance with the Put up, DeRosa requested the group for “just a little little bit of appreciation of the context.”

“So we do apologize,” she stated, based on the report. “I do perceive the place that you simply have been put in. I do know that it isn’t honest. It was not our intention to place you in that political place with the Republicans.” 


She launched a public assertion on Friday, wherein she tried to make clear her statements and wrote: “I used to be explaining that after we obtained the DOJ inquiry, we wanted to quickly put aside the Legislature’s request to cope with the federal request first. We knowledgeable the homes of this on the time.”

“We have been complete and clear in our responses to the DOJ, after which needed to instantly focus our sources on the second wave and vaccine rollout,” she stated, partly. “As I stated on the decision with legislators, we couldn’t fulfill their requests as fast as anybody would have appreciated.”

The Related Press contributed to this report. 


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