By: Amy Jo Underwood
The New York Attorney General accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of under-reporting COVID-19 nursing home deaths by as much as 50%. Cuomo had faced criticism after reportedly sending over 4,500 recovering COVID-19 patients back into nursing homes in the beginning months of the pandemic. Now, Cuomo is accused of under-reporting the deaths that occurred as a result of his executive orders.
Attorney General Letitia James released a report showing that nearly one in three COVID-19 fatalities in the state of New York were nursing home deaths. According to the New York Post, nursing home employees were required to work while sick, and often failed to properly isolate sick patients from the rest of the nursing home residents.
According to the Associated Press, Gov. Cuomo’s March 25th executive order was intended to free up hospital beds for COVID-19 patients. Although Cuomo reversed his order in May, AG James states that he failed to count up to 50% of nursing home deaths. Health Department officials released data stating that over 3,800 were added to the tally. The corrected death toll increased the numbers by at least 40%. The New York Times states that the overall death toll in the state has not changed, but the new data changes the percentage that were nursing home deaths.
"As the pandemic and our investigations continue, it is imperative that we understand why the residents of nursing homes in New York unnecessarily suffered at such an alarming rate. While we cannot bring back the individuals we lost to this crisis, this report seeks to offer transparency that the public deserves and to spur increased action to protect our most vulnerable residents." - New York Attorney General Letitia James