New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo avoided reporters during his visit to the Oval Office on Friday as calls grew for the third-term Democrat to step down over allegations he covered up the scope of the coronavirus death toll in the state’s nursing homes, reports Fox News.
Fourteen New York State Senate Democrats joined Republicans Friday in calling for Cuomo’s pandemic emergency powers to be rescinded after his top aide told lawmakers the administration had hidden nursing home COVID-related numbers when the Department of Justice asked for the data because, “basically, we froze.”
“We were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys, what we start saying, was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation,” Melissa DeRosa told lawmakers in a conference call with state Democrats earlier this week.
The administration rebuffed a legislative request for the tally in August because “right around the same time, [then-President Donald Trump] turns this into a giant political football,” according to an audio recording of the two-hour-plus meeting obtained by the New York Post.
New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office in January said in a damning report, the state had undercounted the number of nursing home deaths by as much as 50%.
More than 15,000 people connected to New York nursing homes have died in the state due to the pandemic, according to new data from the state Health Department.
Cuomo has also been criticized for a directive ordering nursing homes to admit or re-admit recovering coronavirus patients discharged from hospitals during the height of the pandemic.
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