Cuomo aide apologizes for handling of COVID-19 nursing home numbers
Feb 12, 2021 6:33 am
Bernadette Hogan, Carl Campanile, and Bruce Golding report in the New York Post that one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top aides, Melissa DeRosa, apologized to other Democratic lawmakers on an audio recording about the state's handling of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes. DeRosa said that in August, as President Donald Trump threatened a Department of Justice invesitagtion, “we froze” out of fear the true numbers would “be used against us” by federal prosecutors. While some Republicans quickly went to "impeach Cuomo" after reading the story, it does not say much new. Since long before August, many Democrats and Republicans have criticized how the Cuomo administration seemed to manipulate the reporting of COVID-19 deaths between nursing homes and hospitals. DeRosa's audio admission does not address all that, saying instead, “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.” Cuomo's administration is known for rare apologies, and DeRosa offered one on the recording. “So we do apologize,” she said. “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.” Last month, Attorney General Letitia James released a damning report estimating that the deaths of nursing-home residents in hospitals would boost the total nursing home death tally by more than 50 percent. Health Commissioner Howard Zucker then released figures showing the total for New York COVID-19 nursing home deaths was 12,743 as of Jan. 19, up from 8,711 deaths New York officials previously acknowledged. Read more about this story in the New York Post.