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Aides to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) "repeatedly" overruled state health officials "over a span of at least five months" while allegedly attempting to obscure the state's COVID-19 death toll among nursing home residents, The New York Times reports.
Cuomo is facing a federal investigation over his administration's handling of data concerning how many New York nursing home residents died from COVID-19, which the state's attorney general in January found had been undercounted by "as much as 50 percent." Aides for the governor, the Times reports, were aware of that "since the previous spring."
Their effort to obscure the true death count was "far greater than previously known," the Times also reports, writing that aides "engaged in a sustained effort" to prevent it from being released to the public or the state lawmakers over the course of months.
"A scientific paper, which incorporated the data, was never published," the Times writes. "An audit of the numbers by a top Cuomo aide was finished months before it became publicly known. Two letters, drafted by the Health Department and meant for state legislators, were never sent."
A lawyer for Cuomo's office told the Times that the "chamber was never satisfied that the numbers that they were getting from [the Department of Health] were accurate" and "wanted only to release accurate information." An aide for Cuomo in February privately acknowledged, though, that the administration withheld the data amid concerns it was "going to be used against us."
This is one of several scandals Cuomo is facing, as he's also under investigation over allegations of sexual misconduct and for allegedly using state resources while writing a book about the pandemic. Cuomo has resisted calls to resign despite Democrats calling on him to do so. Read the full report at The New York Times.