In a stunning admission of Covid-19 data coverup, a top New York administration official has said data pertaining to the sick and dying people in the state's nursing homes was withheld by the Andrew Cuomo administration.
The state administration decided not to divulge the number of people in nursing homes stricken with the coronavirus in order to deny President Donald Trump political advantage. The admission was made by Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to Governor Cuomo, during a video conference call with state Democratic leaders, the New York Post reported.
'Basically, We Froze'
The nursing home death toll data would have supported Trump's charge against the administration, the official admitted. The administration 'froze' as it received the request for data from the State Senate, she said, adding that the true numbers could have been used against the administration by Trump.
Trump was going after the Democrat-ruled states like New York, New Jersey and Michigan over nursing home deaths around August, and it was around the same time that the state machinery received the request from the legislature for the numbers.
"He starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes ... He starts going after [New Jersey Gov. Phil] Murphy, starts going after [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom, starts going after [Michigan Gov.] Gretchen Whitmer," DeRosa told the party members.
Trump had, by then, directed the Department of Justice to "do an investigation into us," she said, adding, "And basically, we froze."
"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."
DeRosa also apologized to the party members for the lapse, but according to The Post, she did not offer any apology to the families of the people who died in the nursing homes. "So we do apologize ... I do understand the position that you were put in. I know that it is not fair. It was not our intention to put you in that political position with the Republicans."
Attorney General Letitia James said in a report in January that the state's covid-19 deaths would rise by 50 percent if deaths of nursing-home residents in hospitals were to be added. After this report came, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker released data that put nursing home deaths at 12,743 as of January 19.
In a further update this week, Zucker said the total number of nursing home deaths by COVID-19 was 13,297 and that this number would rise to 15,049 if the numbers pertaining to the deaths that took place in assisted living/adult care facilities were added.
'Who cares Where They Died?'
Cuomo had earlier sidestepped demands to reveal nursing home fatalities. Who cares [if they] died in the hospital, died in a nursing home? They died," he had said.
After the Post's expose of the cover-up was out, the Cuomo administration said it was cooperating with Federal document productions. "We explained that the Trump administration was in the midst of a politically motivated effort to blame democratic states for COVID deaths and that we were cooperating with Federal document productions and that was the priority and now that it is over we can address the state legislature. That said, we were working simultaneously to complete the audit of information they were asking for," said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi.