Governor Cuomo spent months silencing health officials and working with aides to hide the real number of deaths in New York nursing homes.
The public and state lawmakers asked repeatedly for the Governor's office to provide an accurate count of how many New Yorkers died of COVID in nursing homes. However, Cuomo and his top aides worked over several months to prevent that information from being shared, according to The New York Times.
Cuomo's team silenced New York's own public health officials, including the commissioner Howard Zucker, from releasing an accurate depiction of how many people were dying in New York nursing homes. This occurred as Cuomo instituted policies to prevent nursing homes from turning away patients infected with COVID-19 who had just been released from hospital.
Cuomo also stopped an academic paper with this data from being published, going on to withhold the results of an audit for months after it was finished. Two letters that detailed the gravity of the situation were also thrown away at the direction of the Governor's office.
In March of 2020, Cuomo stated that nursing homes could not turn away patients just released from the hospital for COVID-19. Over the 2 months that the policy remained in place, thousands of people died in nursing homes from COVID which came directly from the hospital. The original death count was thought to be around 6000 people.
Problems arose when it became clear that those who were transferred from hospitals to nursing homes were not being counted as nursing home deaths. An accurate count of nursing home deaths was only released by the state attorney general in January of 2021. This report revealed that Cuomo under-reported nursing home deaths by as much as 50 percent. The real number of nursing home deaths in New York as of April 2021 is 15,500.
It has now been discovered that Cuomo and his aides knew the accurate number of nursing home deaths last spring, yet withheld the numbers and covered up the amount of deaths. This happened while Cuomo began writing, pitching and marketing a book on his response to the pandemic.