Top aides to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reportedly rewrote a report of the state’s health officials which showed more coronavirus-related nursing home deaths than acknowledged by the administration.
The New York Times reported Thursday that the preliminary report found more than 9,000 deaths from the virus among nursing home residents by June 2020, a figure Cuomo’s top aides did not want made public.
Since mid-February, Cuomo and his team have been under fire over allegedly suppressing New York’s nursing home death toll, coming after State Attorney General Letitia James released a report that found coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes across the state may have been undercounted by 50%.
The study included a sample of 62 nursing homes or 10% of total facilities in the state. It said a larger number of residents died from COVID-19 than Department of Health data reflected.
Rebuffing the paper’s claims, Beth Garvey, a special counsel and senior adviser to Cuomo, said: “The out of facility data was omitted after D.O.H. [Department of Health] could not confirm it had been adequately verified.”
She added that the additional data did not change the conclusion of the report.
“DOH was comfortable with the final report and believes fully in its conclusion that the primary driver that introduced COVID into the nursing homes was … brought in by staff,” Health Department spokesperson Gary Holmes said in a statement also responding to the Times’ report.
The news report comes as Cuomo is already facing calls for his resignation after several women stepped forward claiming sexual harassment by the Democratic governor.
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