N.Y. Gov. Cuomo faces backlash over nursing home deaths

Andrew Cummings
February 14, 2021

"Alessandra Biaggi, Jabari Brisport, Samra Brouk, Jeremy Cooney, Andrew Gounardes, Robert Jackson, John C. Liu, John Mannion, Rachel May, Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, Gustavo Rivera, Julia Salazar, James Sanders, and James Skoufis", per PIX11.

"While COVID-19 has tested the limits of our people and state - and, early during the pandemic, required the government to restructure decision making to render rapid, necessary public health judgments - it is clear that the expanded emergency powers granted to the governor are no longer appropriate", the statement read.

"While the executive's authority to issue directives is due to expire on April 30, we urge the Senate to advance and adopt a repeal as expeditiously as possible", they said.

On Friday, 14 Democrat state senators released a joint statement calling for the governor's emergency powers that he was given during the pandemic to be revoked.

Both Democrats and Republicans are calling for Cuomo to be stripped of his pandemic emergency powers in response to the call, with some going further to demand investigations and even the governor's resignation.

DeRosa said the Cuomo administration had delayed the release of data on Covid-19 deaths among long-term care facility residents because of concerns about a potential federal investigation, according to the transcript.

"And basically, we froze", DeRosa told lawmakers.

People with underlying conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes have been shown to be more suspectible to serious illness and death during the pandemic, but until now, those over age 65, front-line workers, medical personnel and those in nursing homes have had priority. "Because then 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 [state lawmakers], what we start saying was going to be used against us, while we weren't sure if there was going to be an investigation". "The time for real action is upon us, and the governor and his staff must be held accountable".

Cuomo has pointed to a small but growing body of research suggesting unchecked community spread is the biggest factor in nursing home outbreaks, and he has said inadequate federal government help with travel restrictions, testing and protective gear left New York City and its suburbs particularly vulnerable.

In recent weeks, a court order and state attorney general report has forced the state to acknowledge the nursing home resident death toll is almost 15,000, when it was previously reported as 8,500 - a number that excluded residents who died after being taken to hospitals. We were comprehensive and transparent in our responses to the DOJ, and then had to immediately focus our resources on the second wave and vaccine rollout. I expect the Department and administration to promptly fulfill all future information requests from the legislature. The document suggests that, instead of 8,711 deaths reported as of late January, the number may be as high as 13,000. The lawmakers asked the aide about ongoing delays in providing nursing home death data.

He has dismissed criticism as political and noted that the thousands of nursing home residents' deaths in hospitals were always counted in the state's overall tally.

Other reports by iNewsToday