A bombshell report dropped late Thursday when Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aide admitted to hiding New York’s COVID-19 nursing home death toll out of fear that accurate numbers would “be used against us” by prosecutors.
Fox News Meteorologist Janice Dean has sounded alarm bells for several months after her in-laws died within two weeks of each other last spring. She said Cuomo failed to protect the most vulnerable citizens and also cited Govs. Phil Murphy (New Jersey), Gavin Newsom (California), Gretchen Whitmer (Michigan) and Tom Wolf (Pennsylvania) for sending COVID-positive patients into nursing homes.
“I believe all of them should go to jail,” Dean said Thursday night.
"I believe all of them should go to jail."@JaniceDean reacts to "biggest bombshell so far" after a @NYGovCuomo aide admitted to nursing home deaths due to COVID being withheld. pic.twitter.com/QVI9TZTk5R
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) February 12, 2021
In the past, Team Cuomo mocked and belittled Dean’s concerns.
Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa confessed to the coverup during a recent conference call with Democrats by explaining the Cuomo administration refused a request for the tally last summer because they were concerned the Trump administration would “turn this into a giant political football.”
“And we basically froze,” she said. “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, what we start saying, was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation.”
This is the Cuomo administration’s first mea culpa for its handling of nursing homes amid the pandemic.
Other critics and family members of deceased seniors claimed the New York Health Department spread COVID-19 into care facilities with a March 2020 state directive that nursing homes admit infected patients.
Despite the malfeasance and lack of contrition, Cuomo has for nearly a year received laudatory press coverage and boasted of his performance.
“Who cares [if they] died in the hospital, died in a nursing home? They died,” Cuomo casually quipped recently.
There’s also bipartisan criticism of the governor.
New York Assemblyman Ron Kim, whose uncle died of COVID-19 in a nursing home, said DeRosa’s comments “sounded like they admitted that they were trying to dodge having any incriminating evidence that might put the administration in further trouble with the Department of Justice.”
“It’s not enough how contrite they are with us,” the Democrat said. “They need to show that to the public and the families — and they haven’t done that.”
In addition to misleading lawmakers on the number of nursing home residents killed by coronavirus, Cuomo’s administration also refused media requests and fought a Freedom of Information lawsuit.
New York Attorney General Letitia James last month released a report estimating nursing-home resident deaths in hospitals would boost the overall nursing home figure by more than 50 percent. The numbers showed the combined death total was 12,743 on Jan. 19.
Just a day earlier, the Department of Health acknowledged 8,711 deaths in nursing homes.
The total number of Empire State nursing home residents killed by COVID-19 has since increased to nearly 13,500. That number jumps to over 15,000 when assisted living facilities are factored in. New York is No. 2 in total and per capita deaths in the United States.
“If the reason for the cover-up was to avoid investigation, that sounds like obstruction of justice,” National Review’s Deroy Murdock told Shannon Bream last night. “That could be criminal, and could be conspiracy or fraud, and it echoes the area of negligent homicide.”
A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.