“State officials now say more than 15,000 residents of nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities were confirmed or presumed to have died from Covid-19 since March of last year…”
The Wall Street Journal revealed that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top advisors told state health officials to alter the report on the nursing home deaths caused by COVID-19.
In March 2020, Cuomo came under fire immediately when he issued an order that forced nursing homes to readmit residents who had COVID-19.
Now more evidence has emerged that Cuomo and his cronies worked overtime to cover-up his obvious mistake.
The July 2020 report only counted the people who died inside the nursing homes. It did not include the residents who died in hospitals after they got sick inside the homes.
Therefore, officials announced only 6,432 nursing home residents died even though the report first said: “nearly 10,000 nursing-home residents had died in New York by July last year.”
The changes Mr. Cuomo’s aides and health officials made to the nursing-home report, which haven’t been previously disclosed, reveal that the state possessed a fuller accounting of out-of-facility nursing-home deaths as early as the summer. The Health Department resisted calls by state and federal lawmakers, media outlets and others to release the data for another eight months.
State officials now say more than 15,000 residents of nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities were confirmed or presumed to have died from Covid-19 since March of last year—counting both those who died in long-term-care facilities and those who died later in hospitals. That figure is about 50% higher than earlier official death tolls.
The typical PR responses have come out of the administration:
In response to questions from the Journal, administration officials said Thursday that Mr. Cuomo’s advisers advocated against including data on out-of-facility deaths because they had concerns about its accuracy.
“The out-of-facility data was omitted after DOH could not confirm it had been adequately verified,” Beth Garvey, a special counsel and senior adviser to Mr. Cuomo, said in a statement.
One official familiar with the back-and-forth between the Health Department and Mr. Cuomo’s advisers said state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker agreed the out-of-facility data shouldn’t be included in the report.
“[The Department of Health] 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,” said Gary Holmes, a spokesman for the Health Department.
Those who pushed officials include:
- Cuomo’s secretary Melissa DeRosa
- Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker
- Advisor Jim Malatras (now works as chancellor of New York’s public college system)
- Linda Lacewell, superintendent of NY State Department of Financial Services
Eleanor Adams was the lead author of the report. She worked in the Health Department’s Metropolitan Area Regional Office in the area “that focuses on infection control in healthcare facilities.”
Adams is now one of Dr. Zucker’s top advisors.
The report included the deaths that occurred inside and outside of nursing homes:
The initial version of the report submitted to Mr. Cuomo’s team for review included both data on deaths of nursing-home residents in hospitals and deaths of residents inside nursing homes, people familiar with the report’s production said.
While health department officials agreed to remove that data, they resisted Cuomo aides’ requests to alter the report to play down the role of the March 25 directive in the spread of the virus, some of the people said.
The report as published concluded that the directive was “not a significant factor in nursing home fatalities.”
“Covid task force officials did not request that the report conclude the March 25 order played no role,” Ms. Garvey said in a statement. “Task force members, knowing the report needed to withstand rigorous public scrutiny were very cautious to not overstate the statistical analysis presented in the report. Overall, ensuring public confidence in the conclusion was the ultimate goal of DOH and the Covid task force in issuing the report.”
Cuomo and his administration consistently pushed back against claims that his March 2020 order caused unnecessary elderly deaths. To make matters worse, those people died without being able to say goodbye to family members.
The narrative crumbled in January after Attorney General Letitia James’s office discovered Cuomo’s policies probably killed more people than everyone originally thought, especially the March mandate.
DeRosa then admitted to Democrat lawmakers that they hid the nursing home data to avoid President Donald Trump’s attention.
In February, the Times Union reported that the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn launched an investigation into the nursing home deaths.DONATE
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