New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aide apologized to Democratic lawmakers Wednesday for long-awaited data that revealed Cuomo’s administration grossly underestimated coronavirus deaths at nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report last month showing the governor and his administration undercounted the number of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes and long-term healthcare facilities by 50%.
Melissa DeRosa told lawmakers in a private virtual meeting, the administration hid the numbers to avoid an inquiry by the Department of Justice. DeRosa also said the city wanted to avoid being attacked by former President Donald Trump, who Cuomo slammed repeatedly for his pandemic response.
“I was explaining that when we received the DOJ inquiry, we needed to temporarily set aside the Legislature’s request to deal with the federal request first. We informed the houses of this at the time. 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. As I said on a call with legislators, we could not fulfill their request as quickly as anyone would have liked.” DeRosa said in a statement Friday, according to CNN.
Cuomo bought into the attention he got during the beginning of the pandemic when more than 500 people were dying per day in the state. The governor was praised for his honest briefings and even wrote a book on how he managed the pandemic. However, under the surface, things were quite different.
Since the pandemic began, nine state health officials have resigned because of Cuomo’s micromanaging and lack of belief in their advice. According to the New York Times, the departures from the state’s health agency “show the extent to which pandemic policy has been set by the governor, who with his aides crafted a vaccination program beset by early delays.”
Cuomo even admitted that he didn’t trust the state’s medical officials.
“When I say ‘experts’ in air-quotes, it sounds like I don’t really trust the experts because I don’t,” Cuomo said in a press briefing last week.”
Rep. Tom Reed (D-NY) told Fox News Friday he will file a criminal complaint against DeRosa and is calling for her arrest.
“Now we have Gov. Cuomo’s second-in-command essentially on a taped confession to fellow Democratic lawmakers admitting she committed criminal activity to cover up for what they were hiding from the federal officials that were responsible to get to the bottom of this, and make sure that skilled nursing homes and nursing homes themselves learned what happened with the COVID-19 positive order that sent 15,000 people to their death that Cuomo issued back in March,” Reed told Maria Bartiromo.