Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has once again landed himself in some hot water regarding his controversial response to the state’s COVID-19 crisis.
The state’s attorney general just released a report showing that New York nursing home deaths caused by COVID-19 were likely underrepresented in official reports by as much as 50%.
Undercounting reported across the state
According to the Post Millennial, New York Attorney General Letitia James led the effort, tasking a team of investigators to research the matter as far back as March.
The report stems from Cuomo’s controversial directive ordering hospitals to send patients recovering from the coronavirus back to nursing homes. His stance has been blamed for potentially facilitating the spread of the dangerous virus among the particularly vulnerable elderly population.
Specifically, James launched her investigation in response to allegations of “concerning conduct” within nursing homes.
According to the Post Millennial, such facilities often struggled to follow rapidly changing and strict guidelines. Compounding the situation in many nursing homes was a reported lack of human and protective resources.
The most headline-grabbing aspect of James’ report is the rate of undercounted COVID-related deaths in the 62 nursing homes included in the probe.
“The potential to destroy”
While the sample reported 1,914 coronavirus deaths in total, the New York Department of Health’s official tally included just 1,229 such cases — resulting in a discrepancy of 56%
One particularly telling example involved a facility that reported just five confirmed and six presumed deaths due to COVID-19 in its communications with the state health department in August. The same nursing home gave the attorney general’s office a tally containing 29 more deaths.
Reports indicate the apparent underreporting is the result of not counting those nursing home residents who were transferred to a hospital before their deaths.
The damaging report is just the latest in a string of negative stories surrounding Cuomo’s COVID-19 response. As far back as May, his plans to coordinate with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to “reimagine” the state’s school systems amid the pandemic.
Jasmine Gripper, the executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education, said at the time: “Both the Gates Foundation and Andrew Cuomo have a history of pushing privatization and agendas that have the potential to destroy public schools. This collaboration raises a red flag and real questions about what shape our ‘reimagined’ public schools will take post-pandemic, and whether they will be recognizable as public schools at all.”