We previously had reported that the friends and family of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo got special access to rapid testing for COVID-19 during the early days of the pandemic when testing was difficult to get.
But now it turns out that that special testing continued until at least last month — even after it had been reported on and people were calling Cuomo out of it. Talk about gall. He really thinks he has absolute power.
But perhaps not.
According to the New York Times, federal prosecutors are now looking into what went on with the special access.
Federal prosecutors have been looking into whether Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration granted special access to rapid coronavirus test results for the governor’s family and other influential people, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions.
Investigators from the Eastern District of New York had been looking into the handling of data on nursing home deaths by Mr. Cuomo’s office. More recently, their focus expanded, according to the people, to include questions surrounding a priority testing program that benefited Mr. Cuomo’s close family members, including his brother, Chris Cuomo, in the early weeks of the pandemic.
This was happening at a point when it was very hard to get tests and there was a shortage for places hard hit, like nursing homes.
In addition to CNN host Chris Cuomo, the people who got access to special testing included Giorgio DeRosa, a top Albany lobbyist and the father of the governor’s most senior aide, Melissa DeRosa as well as Cuomo’s sister and mother. That special processing continued up to last month when one of the governor’s daughters, Mariah Kennedy Cuomo, and her boyfriend, Tellef Lundevall, got priority testing on April 3.
These “specials” were rushed to the Wadsworth Center, a premier lab, and processed within hours, according to the NY Post.
The high-priority testing is meant to be for urgent cases related to potential outbreaks. But the Governor’s office told the Post that this was done because the couple was visiting the governor for Easter. Health Department workers were “alarmed” by the request to rush tests because of the reports that had already broken about the “specials” involving Cuomo family and friends. Cuomo’s private attorney said this was “proper” protocol since they were going to come in contact with the governor.
So in other words, some people are just more special than others. When you couldn’t see your family members or get testing, Cuomo and his family could because of his position. They’re not even denying it, just justifying it because he’s governor and so “special.”
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro alleged that nursing homes and homes for those with disabilities were denied testing during that period.
This special treatment and access occurred while staff and residents at nursing homes and homes for those with disabilities were denied access to testing… in fact, we were asked not to make testing available. https://t.co/kGLQtamamJ
— Marc Molinaro (@marcmolinaro) May 20, 2021
Democrat Assemblyman Ron Kim, who has been a big critic of Cuomo because Kim’s uncle died from the virus in a nursing home, blasted the special treatment.
In March/April 2020, I had COVID symptoms and suffered in bed with a 104-degree temperature. I called the DOH 1-800 no to get tested, didn’t use my position to cut the line. Someone from DOH did call me back … precisely one month laterhttps://t.co/PR1PgQCq61
— Ron T. Kim (@rontkim) May 20, 2021
Janice Dean, who lost both her mother-in-law and her father-in-law in nursing homes, also took Cuomo apart.
This reporting is incredible. They called @NYGovCuomo’s friends and family members “specials” and they received Covid tests when they were scarce. Nursing homes couldn’t get any to test incoming infected patients. @nytimes https://t.co/Q5y9F2K7kY
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) May 20, 2021
I’ve gotten used to thinking nothing is going to happen to @NYGovCuomo regardless of how much comes out, but this morning I feel a glimmer of hope.
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) May 20, 2021