While Cuomo's intention was not to dismiss the deaths in nursing homes, his choice of language and cavalier delivery had many on social media criticizing the embattled governor.
This after New York State Attorney General Letitia James released a report showing that the number of deaths in nursing homes in the state far exceeded the official count.
In a briefing on Friday, Cuomo said "we're below the national average in number of deaths in nursing homes. But who cares? 33, 28, died in a hospital, died in a nursing home. They died."
In response to questions about the AG report, Cuomo said in a briefing that "everyone did they best they could."
"When I say the the State Department of Health, as the report said, the State Department of Health followed federal guidance, so if you think there was a mistake then go talk to the federal government.
"It's not about pointing fingers or blame, it's that this became a political football, right? Look, whether a person died in a hospital or died in a nursing home, it's people dying. People dying."
He laid out this hypothetical example: "I was in a hospital, I got transferred to a nursing home, and my father died. My father was in a nursing home got transferred to a hospital, my father died.
"People died. By the way, the same people are dying today. 96 percent of the people who die are older people with comorbidities, which happens to be the population that lives in nursing homes. It's continuing today," Cuomo said on Friday.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James released a report on Thursday detailing the investigations her office has conducted into nursing homes policies and actions during the pandemic. The report shows that the nursing home deaths in New York State were likely undercounted by up to 50 percent.
The New York State Department of Health's figures on deaths in nursing homes from COVID showed far less death than James' latest findings. Cuomo and the Dept. of Health reported more than 8,500, and Cuomo has consistently and repeatedly denied that his policies had any negative impact on nursing home deaths in the state.