Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office hid New York's COVID-19 nursing home death toll for at least 5 months, report says

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Governor Andrew Cuomo
Governor Andrew Cuomo AP
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office hid the state's nursing home death toll for at least five months.

  • Cuomo's senior aides prevented state health officials from releasing the actual numbers, per NYT.

  • Cuomo has been embroiled in a series of scandals related to his handling of the pandemic.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office hid the number of deaths in nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic for at least five months, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Cuomo's senior advisors repeatedly prevented state health officials from releasing the actual death toll to the public, according to interviews and new documents reviewed by the NYT. Documents that included the data didn't go public until months later, the Times reported.

Wednesday's new details come as Cuomo faces an investigation into whether his administration gave false data on nursing home deaths last spring as COVID-19 raged across New York. The probe relates to a March 25 executive order - which the Cuomo administration has long insisted was simply the result of them following federal guidance - that mandated nursing home patients who were hospitalized with the coronavirus to be discharged back to nursing homes, as long as the providers could take adequate care of them.

Hospital capacity was a primary concern at the time, but the order left nursing home staff in a bind, particularly with the potential for the recently hospitalized residents to spread the virus if they were still within the window of contagiousness.

In late January, New York Attorney General Tish James accused the Cuomo administration of undercounting nursing home deaths by omitting those who died in a hospital, resulting in nursing home-related fatalities being undercounted by the thousands. Then came leaked comments from Cuomo's top aide, Melissa DeRosa, who told lawmakers that the administration was sitting on the more accurate tally to avoid political issues with then-President Donald Trump's administration.

The governor is also embroiled in a series of other controversies, including sexual-assault allegations launched against him, and new reports that claim he gave his family special access to COVID-19 testing early in the pandemic.

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