New York Democrats are calling for Governor Cuomo to be subpoenaed and investigated over his administration’s coverup of its dismal handling of nursing home coronavirus deaths.
Last week, reports broke that a top aide to Governor Cuomo admitted that the administration covered up the true data on nursing home deaths from the coronavirus in New York state in order to hide the magnitude of the issue from federal authorities.
Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa apologized to state Democratic lawmakers during a recent video conference call, saying “we froze” out of fear that the real nursing home death numbers would “be used against us” by federal prosecutors, the New York Post reported.
Representative Antonio Delgado, a Democrat representing parts of the Hudson Valley in the House, called Sunday for a probe into Cuomo’s handling of the state’s data on coronavirus nursing home deaths.
“Politics should never come before people’s lives. The Secretary to the Governor’s remarks are beyond troubling and warrant a full investigation,” Delgado wrote in a tweet. “Thousands of New Yorkers lost family in nursing homes to COVID-19, a pain made worse by the inability to comfort their loved ones in their final hours. They deserve answers and accountability.”
On Friday, New York State Senator Jessica Ramos, a Democrat representing east Queens, called for Cuomo and his administration to be subpoenaed for “all of the pertinent information” relating to nursing home coronavirus deaths along with a “full investigation.”
“At a time when we need New Yorkers to trust their elected officials the most, the Governor and his administration knowingly chose to lie and play politics with New Yorkers’ lives,” Ramos said in a statement. “This news is another slap in the face to the many New Yorkers still grieving the loss of their loved ones across our state.”
Ramos also joined a growing chorus of lawmakers calling for Governor Cuomo to be stripped of the emergency powers granted to him last year at the beginning of the pandemic.
“His emergency powers must be rescinded, he and his administration must be subpoenaed for all of the pertinent information, and a full investigation must result in justice for our grieving families,” Ramos said in her statement.
“It has become increasingly clear that the Governor has allowed his ego and his donor base to dictate the response to this pandemic, leaving the most vulnerable in our communities at risk and dismissing their cries for relief at every turn,” she said.
The state had been tabulating the deaths of nursing home residents who died after being transported to the hospital as hospital deaths, making it difficult to ascertain the actual number of residents who died.
Meanwhile, one of Cuomo’s policies signed into law on March 25 and rescinded in May required nursing homes to accept coronavirus-positive patients after they were discharged from hospitals, causing the virus to spread like wildfire among elderly nursing home residents. The policy received fierce backlash and has dogged his administration since the early days of the pandemic.
The astonishing admission from the governor’s top aide of a coverup surrounding the nursing home death toll immediately sparked bipartisan calls for an investigation and for Cuomo’s prosecution.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who often spars with Cuomo on local issues, said he agrees “100 percent” with stripping Cuomo of emergency powers.