While Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces mounting pressure to resign over multiple allegations of sexual harassment, those claims came on the heels of reports that his administration covered up the true death toll of COVID-19 deaths among nursing home patients.
Now, a new bombshell report indicates that Cuomo and his top aides began manipulating that nursing home data as far back as June.
New details emerge
At that time, nursing home deaths linked to the virus were reportedly surging past 9,000 even as the Cuomo administration put the total at just 6,432.
The governor’s move came before a federal inquiry, which his aides have since cited in explaining their lack of transparency.
At the apex of his popularity in the early days of the pandemic, Cuomo received an Emmy award for his daily news briefings and even wrote a book about his experiences as a leader during the crisis. The New York Times indicated that he began working on that book at about the same time the apparent coverup began in June.
Of course, conservatives have long criticized the now-embattled governor’s policy that sent COVID-infected patients back to nursing homes and other facilities. Over time, the story has received increased attention and scrutiny, leading to bipartisan opprobrium.
A number of New York Democrats have turned on him in recent weeks, even moving to strip him of his emergency powers.
In reaction to the latest report, Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim called the Cuomo administration’s conduct “criminal,” insisting that “thousands died as a result of their intentional and reckless abuse of power.”
The scandal moved into high gear in January when New York Attorney General Letitia James issued a report based on her agency’s investigation that showed the governor severely underreported the number of nursing home deaths caused by COVID-19.
Compounding the controversy are the mounting claims of sexual harassment against Cuomo in recent days.
While he has offered an apology of sorts for making people “feel uncomfortable,” the governor has not accepted responsibility for the nursing home scandal and remains as unrepentant as ever in the face of calls for him to step down.
“I do not believe I have ever done anything in my public career that I am ashamed of,” he declared on Wednesday, according to Politico.