AOC calls for ‘full investigation’ into NY Gov. Cuomo’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes – as he fights back over scandal
- Alexandria Ocasio Cortez on Friday called for a ‘full investigation’ into Gov Andrew Cuomo’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes
- Cuomo continues to face scrutiny over his administration’s handling of nursing home data and an alleged cover up of deaths
- State lawmakers have threatened in recent days to strip him of the power to issue emergency orders
- Federal investigators are also scrutinizing his administration’s handling of nursing home data
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is calling for a ‘full investigation’ into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes.
The New York congresswoman issued a statement on Friday as Cuomo continues to face scrutiny over his administration’s handling of nursing home data and an alleged cover up of deaths.
‘I support our state’s return to co-equal governance and stand with our local officials calling for a full investigation of the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes during COVID-19,’ she said.
‘Thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers lost their lives in nursing homes throughout the pandemic. Their loved ones and the public deserve answers and transparency from their elected leadership, and the Secretary to the Governor’s remarks warrant a full investigation.’
Cuomo has faced mounting challenges to his leadership on the pandemic as state lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, threatened to strip him of the power to issue emergency orders and federal investigators scrutinized his administration’s handling of nursing home data.
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is calling for a ‘full investigation’ into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes
The Justice Department has been examining the governor’s COVID task force and trying to determine whether the state intentionally manipulated data regarding deaths in nursing homes, sources told The Associated Press.
For months, his administration had resisted requests from lawmakers and reporters to release a complete death toll for nursing home residents. In recent weeks, the administration revealed that 15,000 long-term care residents have died, up from the 8,500 previously disclosed.
Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, told Democratic lawmakers that the administration delayed releasing data to the legislature about the deaths because officials ‘froze’ over fears the information was ‘going to be used against us’ by the DOJ.
During his press briefing on Friday, Cuomo defiantly defended his administration’s response to nursing homes but did say he should have provided more public information on deaths ‘sooner’.
Cuomo said, however, that he ‘should have been more aggressive’ in fighting ‘lies’ and misinformation. He said he made a mistake in becoming ‘complacent’ about the misinformation, saying: ‘I saw them and dismissed them as false agendas and partisan politics’.
‘I was not aggressive enough in knocking down the falsities. We were busy. We were doing our job. We’re trying to save lives. No excuses,’ he said.
‘I’m not going to allow people to lie to the people of New York without answering them.
‘I have very thick skin. I don’t really care what people say about me. I agreed to this nasty business because I believe I can do good things. I’m not going to let you lie to them.’
Health commissioner Howard Zucker insisted on Friday that the state made the right public health decision at the time regarding allowing nursing home patients in hospital to return to their facilities.
Zucker said based on what they now know, officials would have still made the same decision.
He said that of the 365 nursing homes that admitted patients from hospital between March 25 and May 10, 98 percent already had virus outbreaks.
Zucker added that there COVID deaths in 132 nursing homes that never took a coronavirus patient from hospital.
Cuomo drew fresh condemnation this week in the wake of a tirade against Assembly member Ron Kim after he questioned his handling of the pandemic.
Kim said Cuomo threatened to ‘destroy’ him over a quote he had given to a media outlet in which he said the administration admitted it was withholding data about deaths in nursing homes because it was ‘trying to dodge having any incriminating evidence’ that might get it in trouble with the Justice Department.
Days later, Cuomo admonished Kim as chronically unethical during a press briefing.
His spokesperson, who was listening to the February 11 call between the two, called Kim a habitual liar, and said the governor was just trying to defend himself against a false accusation of a cover up.